How's Your Kid's Grip? It'll Tell You Whether He Has the Willpower to Do Homework

How's your kid's grip?  Did you know you can use it to figure out whether he's going to do his homework?

No joke.  A new study says the ability to hold a grip predicts the willpower to do homework.

According to newswise.com, researchers at McMaster University have established a connection between a person’s ability to maintain a firm grip and having the self-control to finish their schoolwork.

There is not yet a clear cause-and-effect relationship between squeezing a handgrip and working up the willpower to tackle a school assignment, but it’s clear there is a connection, says Matthew Stork, a PhD candidate in Kinesiology and lead author of a study published in The Journal of Health Psychology.

Stork and his co-authors looked at a group of 30 first-year university students, asking them their plans to engage in two tough challenges for students adjusting to university life: completing their school work and keeping up their exercise schedules. Both require high levels of self-control.

Next, they had them squeeze a grip-tester at half their own maximum power for as long as they could go, instructing them to “resist the temptation to quit”.

Four weeks later, they compared the students’ own projections to their actual results in getting their schoolwork and exercise done.

And guess what?  The students who had the greatest hand grip endurance were also those who worked hardest on their academic goals.

Now I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out why.  Wouldn't you think anyone who was that determined to get their homework done would be just as determined in gripping something, as well?

“If you have a high capacity for self-control you can have a high capacity in multiple domains,” Stork says. “If you have a high level of self-control, it’s not only for exercise or doing well in school, but it can also apply to other helpful behaviours as well, like regulating your eating or smoking habits.”

People can be trained to better their self-control, researchers say.  The more times a person is successful at overcoming distractions or temptations on a regular basis, the more likely they are to learn how to successfully exert self-control in the future.

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