The mediating effect of reflective-analytic cognitive style on rational thought

Ralph E. Viator, Nancy L. Harp, Shannon B. Rinaldo, Blair B. Marquardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We investigate whether non-miserly cognitive styles mediate the effects of cognitive ability and thinking dispositions on rational thought. Specifically, we review relevant literature on two dimensions that define non-miserly cognitive style: reflection-impulsivity and analytic-intuitive. We use these two dimensions to identify a continuum of cognitive styles that vary from miserly (impulsive-intuitive) to non-miserly (reflective-analytic) and are congruent with tendencies to commit specific rational thinking errors. Further, we argue that this continuum, which we label reflective-analytic cognitive style, mediates the effect of cognitive ability and thinking dispositions on rational thought. We conduct an experiment testing our predictions and find evidence, via structural equation modelling, that reflective-analytic cognitive style does mediate the effect of cognitive ability (as measured by working memory capacity) and thinking dispositions (as measured by need for cognition and actively open-minded thinking) on responses to traditional rational thinking tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-413
Number of pages33
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Volume26
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

Keywords

  • Analytic cognitive style
  • dual process theory
  • reflection-impulsivity
  • thinking dispositions
  • working memory

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