Introduction enjoy and prefer difficult cognitive questions or tasks


            It can be infuriating when arguing
with someone over a fact which is known to be true, but the other person cannot
admit to it being true, no matter what supporting data is given to them. On the
other hand, it may be easier to share ideas with those who can listen and
accept new ideas even if they are different from their own beliefs. These two
types of people will have very different degrees of intellectual humility (IH).
Intellectual humility is defined, by Leary et al., as the ability to recognize
that one’s own views may be wrong, due to biased opinions and/or incorrect
information (Leary et al., 2017). Having low IH may be problematic as it may
lead the individual to hold onto incorrect or biased beliefs. Low IH may also
cause problems between individuals with opposing views which can lead to a
number of additional problems. However, to be able to measure high or low IH,
there is a need for valid psychological scales. This study aims to investigate
the newly developed Intellectual Humility Scale (IHS), specifically, to determine
the validity of the scale.

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
Writers Experience
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
Writers Experience
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
Writers Experience
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

IH is very complex as it is related
to, but is separate from, other concepts. Therefore, when trying to measure IH,
these other concepts must be carefully considered. One of said concepts
includes the need for social acceptance which can be measured using the Social
Desirability Scale (SDS). This is important to measure since the desire to
portray oneself in an favourable light may skew results. Similarly, it is
essential to use the Need for Cognition Scale (NCS) to measure the degree to
which individuals enjoy and prefer difficult cognitive questions or tasks as it
can also skew the results. Lastly, since IH involves the tendency to believe
one’s own principles to be true over any contradicting evidence, it also
becomes significant to measure for the level of dogmatism in each individual
which can be measured through the Dogmatism Scale (DS). With the exact nature
of IH still being developed, there are a number of different measures that can
be used to describe IH.



            To begin research into the validity
of the IHS, it is important to first understand previous research into the
construct of IH. Davis et al. in 2016 produced a study which offers fundamental
information on the topic in a two-part study. Study 1 makes two hypotheses with
the first being: IH is independent from general humility (GH), and the second
hypothesis being: IH will positively and uniquely predict agreeableness better
than GH. To test these hypotheses, 1097 undergraduates were subjected to a
series of measures which include the Intellectual Humility Scale created by
McElroy et al. in 2014, GH measured by the Relational Humility Scale (RHS),
created by Davis et al. in 2011, and openness and agreeableness measured with
subscales of the Big Five Inventory (BFI) created by John, Donahue, &
Kentle in 1991. Using factorial analysis (CFA) and other several model
comparisons, the data suggested a significant level of discriminatory validity
between the IHS and RHS, thus, supporting the hypothesis that IH and GH are two
constructs that are independent of one another. Moreover, the second hypothesis
was verified with the aid of hierarchical regression analysis. When comparing
the results between IHS and openness and agreeableness from BFI with the
results from RHS and openness and agreeableness from BFI, it was clear that
both, IHS and RGH, were accurate measures of openness and agreeableness, however, IHS clarified additional and one of a kind
differences in openness and agreeableness. Study 2 aimed to predict patterns of
thinking that would in the end, distinguish IH from GH. Davis et al. reported,
based off past research, that it is best to measure IH in diagnostic situations
in which the participant has a high incentive to be correct. Such situations
may arise when discussing strong or deeply rooted beliefs, for example,
religion or politics. As a result of this, Davis et al. subjected 355
undergraduates, with a subsample of 224 self-identified Christian participants,
to measures of IH via the HIS, GH via the RGH, cognition via the NCS, and
objectivism via the Objectivism Scale. In addition, the subsample of
self-identified Christians also completed the measure ethnocentrism evaluated
by the Religious Ethnocentrism Scale. The researchers generally believed that
IH was a better measure for specific-domain topics since it is measures are
more geared towards specific intellectual concepts in relation to GH. Davis et
al. more specifically hypothesized that IH would uniquely positively predict
need for cognition and objectivism greater than GH. Moreover, IH would uniquely
predict lower levels of religious ethnocentrism over GH. Although the results
of the data only showed a greater uniquely positive prediction of IH in
relation to GH in the need for cognition measure, the experiment is still
pioneering in the topic of IH as it shows discriminant validity between IH and

            Another extremely significant study
to this topic was done in 2017 by Leary et al. Until Leary et al. research on
IH focused on specialized scenarios such as religion or politics, consequently,
the IH scales that were already developed were only accurate at measuring
topics which pertained only to such scenarios. This made trying to design a
study with generalizable results difficult for Leary et al., however,
researchers solved this problem by simply creating their own generalized
intellectual humility scale (IHS). In the first of four studies, Leary et al.
create their own IH scale without reference to domain specific constructs.
Leary et al. created a large list of potential items that they believed
pertained to their definition of IH and was shortened down to 23-items. Next,
300 participants were selected to take the 23-item scale and an analysis of the
results allowed for the selection of just 6-items that adequately fit their
description of IH. After the scale had been created, it needed to be tested for
construct validity. To do so, Leary et al. obtained two samples of participants
(n = 202 and n = 200) and they completed the IH scale in conjunction to
measures that were related to its convergent and discriminant validity. These
measures included the SDS in conjunction with the Big Five Inventory (BFI), for
the first sample of participants, and a subscale from the NEO personality
Inventory-Revised (NEO-PI-R), for the second sample of participants. In
addition, to measure converging and discriminatory validity, the DS and the Social
Vigilantism Scale were used. Leary et al. went on to further improve validity
by also considering measures that might pre-suppose a particular high or low IH
score. These measures include the NCS, the Epistemic Curiosity Scale, the
Narcissistic Personality Scale, and the Self-Righteousness Scale. Using the
results of the two samples combined (n = 402), Leary et al. found a wide array
of statistically significant correlations between IH scores and particular
measures. For the purpose of this current study, only a select few will be
discussed. Leary et al. found that there was no significant correlation between
SDS scores and IH scores, thus, allowing them to dismiss the possibility of
skewed results because of social desirability response bias. Moreover, IH
scores correlated negatively with the DS, thus, suggesting that low dogmatism
seems to be a characteristic of high IH. Lastly, there was a positive
correlation between IH scores and the NCS scores. This suggests that those who
prefer deep thinking may score higher on
IH because they regard complex or conflicting information as interesting rather
than threatening. In brief, after constructing their own general IH scale,
Leary et al. tested its validity and the yielded results followed the
hypothesized outcomes as expected. 

            McElroy et al. in 2014 again
furthered the discussion of the topic of IH with their research by exploring
how IH can affect one’s relationships with others, specifically religious
leaders. In order to do this, researchers had to create their own IH sale and
did so in Study 1 and 2. Study 3 and 4 focused on the manipulation of the IH
scale to understand more about how IH affects relationships. Using 213
participants, McElroy et al. were able to devise a 16-item scale (IHS) which
focused on IH in regards to a caregiver or parent (Study 1). In Study 2, a new
sample of 213 participants completed the 16-item IHS and statistical analysis
confirmed the validity of their new scale. Now that their scale had been
validated, McElroy et al. started to apply the scale in Study 3. The main
hypotheses of Study 3 were that IH would be positively correlated with trust,
and agreeableness and openness. 139 undergraduate students were measured on IH
through the IHS, trust was measured through the Dyadic Trust Scale, and
personality measures such as openness and agreeableness were measured through
the BFI. Through statistical analysis of the data, both hypotheses were
supported, thus, suggesting that increased trust and agreeableness and openness
is related to an increased IH. Finally, in Study 4, they were interested to see
the relation between IH and ability to forgive a religious leader after a
desecration. Specifically, McElroy et al. hypothesized
that IH would be negatively correlated with unforgiveness and positively
correlated to intentions to repair the relationship. To test the
hypotheses, 105 undergraduate students,
who have experienced an offense by a religious leader, were measured on
concepts such as viewing an offense as a desecration, attitudes towards God, and
unforgiveness. Through statistical analysis of the data from the measures, the
hypotheses that IH is positively related to forgiving was supported, thus,
suggesting that those with higher IH are more willing to forgive after a


Current Study

study focuses on the intellectual humility scale created by Leary et al in the
2017 study described above and attempts to partially replicate Study 1 with the
goal of testing the validity of the IHS they created. The validity of the IHS
will be tested with three variables which include need for cognition,
dogmatism, and social desirability. As described earlier, the IHS was devised
to assess general IH by evaluating the degree to which one can accept their
beliefs may be flawed. Since IH can be affected by other variables, they must
also be measured for. The NCS helps eliminate any pre-existing variation that
can make the IH scores particularly high or low by assessing the tendency for
an individual to engage in, and enjoy, challenging cognitive tasks. Similarly,
the SDS is used to minimize the response bias in which participants tend to
respond in a way that will make themselves appear more socially favourable,
rather than answering based off their actual experiences. Lastly, the DS will measure
levels of dogmatism in a person as it will measure the tenacity of one’s
personal beliefs when faced with contradictory evidence. We hypothesize three
distinct relations between the results of each scale with the IHS. For
instance, we hypothesize a positive correlation between IHS and NCS because as
seen in the Leary et al. study, those who have a higher need for cognition
desire contradicting ideas because they see these contradicting ideas as an
opportunity to grow intellectually. Therefore, if scores from NCS are high, IHS
scores should also be high. Oppositely, we hypothesize a negative correlation
between IHS and DS because we predict that those who can hold onto their
beliefs despite being offered contradicting evidence will have a lower ability
to recognize their beliefs may be flawed. Therefore, if scores from DS are
high, IHS scores should be low. Lastly, we hypothesize that there would be no
significant correlation between IHS and SDS because we do not want social
desirability to have any effect on the results produced by the scale.