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Reasoning independently of prior belief and individual differences in actively open-minded thinking

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Abstract

A sample of 349 college students completed an argument evaluation test (AET) in which they evaluated arguments concerning real-life situations. A separate regression analysis was conducted for each student predicting his or her evaluations of argument quality from an a objective indicator of argument quality and the strength of his or her prior beliefs about the target propositions. The beta weight for objective argument quality was interpreted in this analysis as an indicator of the ability to evaluate objective argument quality independent of prior belief. Individual differences in this index were reliably linked to individual differences in cognitive ability and actively open-minded thinking dispositions. Further, actively open-minded thinking predicted variance in AET performance even after individual differences in cognitive ability had been partialled out.
... thinking. This construct represents an individual tendency to avoid dichotomous thinking and seek alternatives and counterevidence to one's own beliefs (Stanovich & West, 1997). Though most experts on critical thinking agree on the importance of thinking dispositions to critical thinking, there is much debate about whether or not all of the thinking dispositions that have been identified truly facilitate critical thinking. ...
... Previous discussion of mindfulness interventions suggested that those with a higher need for cognition would be more likely to engage with mindfulness as it is a cognitively demanding activity and for this reason it was expected that the effectiveness of the mindfulness induction would be moderated by levels of need for cognition (Chatzisarantis & Hagger, 2007). Actively open-minded thinking refers to the tendency to process information in a flexible manner and remain open to revising one's beliefs (Stanovich & West, 1997). This disposition is highly predictive of effective critical thinking and has been associated with openness to experience (Oyer, Gillespie, Issah, & Fasko, 2012). ...
... Actively Open-minded Thinking Scale (Stanovich & West, 1997) The Actively Open-minded Thinking Scale assesses the extent to which individuals tend to approach information in an open and flexible way. ...
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Thesis
Background - In recent years, many claims have been made regarding the application of mindfulness practice to the improvement of everyday thinking skills. Everyday thinking skills are best measured using assessments developed in the field of research focused on critical thinking. When considering the theoretical foundation of a relationship between mindfulness and critical thinking, there are generally two main perspectives put forward. One view suggests that mindfulness does not facilitate critical thinking due to the association between mindfulness and acceptance. Another view suggests that since mindfulness practice appears to result in improved executive functioning, it may facilitate the operation of reflective processes which are crucial to effective critical thinking. However, no previous studies have directly examined the relationship between mindfulness and critical thinking. The present research sought to address this gap in the literature. Methods - Study 1 examined individual differences in the present-moment attention and non-reactivity facets of dispositional mindfulness and their relationships to the core executive functions of updating, inhibition and shifting, and critical thinking. Study 2 examined the effects of an experimental manipulation of state mindfulness on performance on a complex executive function task and a critical thinking task. Participants were randomly assigned to either complete a brief mindfulness meditation or a sham meditation consisting of guided mind-wandering. The extent to which individual differences in dispositional mindfulness, need for cognition and actively open-minded thinking moderated the effects of the experimental manipulation of state mindfulness on the primary measures was also examined. Study 3 consisted of a double-blinded, randomised controlled trial comparing the effects of an online mindfulness training program with those of an online guided sham meditation program on executive functioning, thinking dispositions and critical thinking. Results - Study 1 demonstrated a significant but weak indirect effect between both facets of mindfulness and critical thinking through inhibition. A negative direct effect of non-reactivity on critical thinking was also found. Study 2 found that there was no difference between the experimental condition and the control condition in terms of performance on both the executive function task and the critical thinking task. However, moderation analyses suggested that the brief mindfulness meditation did improve critical thinking for those lower in need for cognition and those lower in actively open-minded thinking. Study 3 found that there were no differences between the mindfulness meditation group and the sham meditation group in the extent to which executive functioning, thinking dispositions and critical thinking changed from baseline to follow-up. Conclusion - The results of these studies together suggest that the effects of mindfulness on critical thinking are mostly small and, in experimental contexts, indistinguishable from those of closely matched control conditions. Furthermore, only limited support was found for the mediating role of executive functioning in the relationship between mindfulness and critical thinking. These results suggest that claims regarding the supposed benefits of mindfulness practice for critical thinking should be tempered until further research is conducted.
... The current study also sought once again to explore the relationship between people's general dispositions toward Type 2, reflective reasoning and the negative footprint illusion, but with some amendments to the scales and tasks. Study 1 employed the brief AOT-7 scale (Haran et al., 2013) as opposed to the full AOT-41 scale (e.g., Stanovich and West, 1997;Sá et al., 1999). The AOT-7 correlates relatively poorly with the AOT-41 (r = 0.66) in comparison to the recently developed AOT-17 scale (r = 0.89; Svedholm-Häkkinen and Lindeman, 2018). ...
... Such findings raise the possibility that individual beliefs regarding the anthropogenic causes of climate change might themselves be potentially important in predicting people's reduced susceptibility to the negative footprint illusion. Furthermore, actively open-minded thinking is associated with the acceptance of counterintuitive ideas (Sinatra et al., 2003) and the ability to evaluate arguments objectively (Stanovich and West, 1997). It is also associated with decreased vulnerability to cognitive biases such as belief bias (West et al., 2008) and confirmation bias (Baron, 1993). ...
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People consistently act in ways that harm the environment, even when believing their actions are environmentally friendly. A case in point is a biased judgment termed the negative footprint illusion , which arises when people believe that the addition of “eco-friendly” items (e.g., environmentally certified houses) to conventional items (e.g., standard houses), reduces the total carbon footprint of the whole item-set, whereas the carbon footprint is, in fact, increased because eco-friendly items still contribute to the overall carbon footprint. Previous research suggests this illusion is the manifestation of an “averaging-bias.” We present two studies that explore whether people’s susceptibility to the negative footprint illusion is associated with individual differences in: (i) environment-specific reasoning dispositions measured in terms of compensatory green beliefs and environmental concerns; or (ii) general analytic reasoning dispositions measured in terms of actively open-minded thinking, avoidance of impulsivity and reflective reasoning (indexed using the Cognitive Reflection Test; CRT). A negative footprint illusion was demonstrated when participants rated the carbon footprint of conventional buildings combined with eco-friendly buildings (Study 1 and 2) and conventional cars combined with eco-friendly cars (Study 2). However, the illusion was not identified in participants’ ratings of the carbon footprint of apples (Study 1 and 2). In Studies 1 and 2, environment-specific dispositions were found to be unrelated to the negative footprint illusion. Regarding reflective thinking dispositions, reduced susceptibility to the negative footprint illusion was only associated with actively open-minded thinking measured on a 7-item scale (Study 1) and 17-item scale (Study 2). Our findings provide partial support for the existence of a negative footprint illusion and reveal a role of individual variation in reflective reasoning dispositions in accounting for a limited element of differential susceptibility to this illusion.
... 2 Note that we assume that reasoning ability/capacity is relatively stable over time. There is some evidence to support this claim (Chesney, Bjalkebring, & Peters, 2015;Enkavi et al., 2019;Raoelison & De Neys, 2019;Stagnaro, Pennycook, & Rand, 2018). This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers. ...
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Sacrificial moral dilemmas elicit a strong conflict between the motive to not personally harm someone and the competing motive to achieving the greater good, which is often described as the "utilitarian" response. Some prior research suggests that reasoning abilities and deliberative cognitive style are associated with endorsement of utilitarian solutions, but, as has more recently been emphasized, both conceptual and methodological issues leave open the possibility that utilitarian responses are due instead to a reduced emotional response to harm. Across 8 studies, using self-report, behavioral performance, and neuroanatomical measures, we show that individual differences in reasoning ability and cognitive style of thinking are positively associated with a preference for utilitarian solutions, but bear no relationship to harm-relevant concerns. These findings support the dual-process model of moral decision making and highlight the utility of process dissociation methods. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... Indeed, existing work that directly investigates belief formation and change suggests that beliefs are partially outside people's voluntary control, precisely because of these evidentiary constraints. In essence, while people can indirectly influence the quality of their beliefs, including how rational and justified those beliefs are (e.g., by exposing themselves to new information, or by deliberating in specific ways; Baron, 2008;Haran, Ritov, & Mellers, 2013;Stanovich & West, 1997;Webster & Kruglanski, 1994), they cannot simply adopt whatever belief they want to (Epley & Gilovich, 2016;Sloman, Fernbach, & Hagmeyer, 2010). For instance, when presented with strong arguments in favor of a proposition, people tend to change their beliefs, even when they would prefer not to (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986;Wood & Porter, 2016). ...
Article
A popular thesis in psychology holds that ordinary people judge others’ mental states to be uncontrollable, unintentional, or otherwise involuntary. The present research challenges this thesis and documents how attributions of mental state control affect social decision making, predict policy preferences, and fuel conflict in close relationships. In Chapter 1, I show that lay people by-and-large attribute intentional control to others over their mental states. Additionally, I provide causal evidence that these attributions of control predict judgments of responsibility as well as decisions to confront and reprimand someone for having an objectionable attitude. By overturning a common misconception about how people evaluate mental states, these findings help resolve a long-standing debate about the lay concept of moral responsibility. In Chapter 2, I extend these findings to interpersonal emotion regulation in order to predict how observers react to close others who experience stress, anxiety, or distress. Across six studies, I show that people’s emotional support hinges on attributions of emotion control: People are more inclined to react supportively when they judge that the target individual cannot regulate their own emotions, but react unsupportively, sometimes evincing an intention to make others feel bad for their emotions, when they judge that those others can regulate their negative emotion away themselves. People evaluate others’ emotion control based on assessments of their own emotion regulation capacity, how readily reappraised the target’s emotion is, and how rational the target is. Finally, I show that judgments of emotion control predict self-reported supportive thoughts and behaviors in close relationships as well as preferences for university policies addressing microaggressions. Lastly, in Chapter 3, I show that people believe that others have more control over their beliefs than they themselves do. This discrepancy arises because, even though people conceptualize beliefs as controllable, they tend to experience the beliefs they hold as outside their control. When reasoning about others, people fail to generalize this experience to others and instead rely on their conceptualization of belief as controllable. In light of Chapters 1 and 2, I discuss how this discrepancy may explain why ideological disagreements are so difficult to resolve.
... A shorter 7-item version (Haran, Ritov & Mellers, 2013) of the original Actively Open-minded Thinking Scale (AOTS; Stanovich & West, 1997) was used to measure beliefs about good thinking, particularly the tendency to engage in openminded thinking and attend to evidence opposing favored conclusions. The short form has good face validity and reliability (Haran et al., 2013). ...
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Article
Schizotypy refers to the continuum of normal variability of psychosis-like characteristics and experiences, often classified as positive schizotypy ('unusual experiences'; UE) and negative schizotypy ('introvertive anhedonia'; IA). Here, we investigated the link between schizotypy and cognitive processing style and performance. A particular focus was on whether schizotypy is associated more with Type 1 (automatic/heuristic) than Type 2 (reflective/effortful) processes, as may be expected from findings of impaired top-down control in schizophrenia. A large sample (n = 1,512) completed online measures pertaining to schizotypy (Oxford-Liverpool Inventory for Feelings and Experiences; O-LIFE), thinking style (Rational Experiential Inventory-10, Actively Open-Minded Thinking Scale), and reasoning performance (Cognitive Reflection Test). Higher positive (UE) and negative (IA) schizotypy were associated with more pronounced Type 1 processing, i.e. greater self-reported Faith in Intuition (FI), lower Need for Cognition (NFC), lower Actively Open-Minded Thinking (AOT), and lower cognitive reflection test (CRT) scores. Canonical correlation analysis confirmed a significant association between UE and increased FI, lower AOT and lower CRT performance, accounting for 12.38% of the shared variance between schizotypy and thinking dispositions. IA was more highly associated with reduced NFC. These findings suggest that schizotypy may be associated with similar thinking dispositions to those reported in psychosis, with different patterns of associations for positive and negative schizotypy. This result informs research on reasoning processes in psychosis and has clinical implications, including potential treatment targets and refinements for cognitive therapies.
... Ešte dôležitejšie je však to, že keď máme zhodnotiť kvalitu evidencie relevantnej pre naše počiatočné postoje (napr. vo forme argumentov, alebo vedeckých výskumov), sme kritickejší k evidencii, ktorej závery sú v rozpore s našim stanoviskom, a naopak, v prípade evidencie, ktorá podporuje naše stanovisko, prehliadame aj jej vážnejšie nedostatky (Klaczynski, 2000;Stanovich & West, 1997). Nedávny výskum Bastardiho, Uhlmanna a Rossa (2011) zároveň naznačuje, že ešte dôležitejšiu úlohu ako predchádzajúce presvedčenia môžu v hodnotení vedeckej evidencie zohrávať naše túžby, to, čo si prajeme, aby bola pravda. ...
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Conference Paper
Psychológovia identifikovali rad systematických odchýlok, ktoré ovplyvňujú ľudské myslenie v celej jeho šírke. Spomedzi mnohých možno uviesť napr. sklon k sebapotvrdzovaniu, ktorý závažne ovplyvňuje schopnosť testovania hypotéz (Evans, 2016) a vyhľadávania a hodnotenia evidencie (Nickerson, 1998). Naše uvažovanie je taktiež skreslené v prospech dosahovania osobných cieľov, ktoré nemusia byť vždy v súlade so správnym rozhodovaním (Kunda, 1990). Cieľom príspevku bude upriamiť pozornosť na potenciálne skreslenia vo vedeckom myslení a to najmä s ohľadom na naliehavé problémy, s ktorými sa súčasná psychologická veda potýka, ako nízka replikabilita psychologického výskumu, či vysoká prevalencia využívania " sporných výskumných praktík " .
... Bruine de Bruin et al. (2007) found that behavioural decisionmaking tasks such as estimating of potential health risks were related to high scores on modified versions of the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices and the Nelson-Denny Reading Comprehension subtest. On the other hand, these relationships are somewhat mitigated by the fact that just as many studies have found that a number of other undesirable effects of the heuristics and biases seem to operate independent of intelligence when tested in between-subjects designs (Stanovich, 2009; Stanovich & West, 1997; Stanovich & West, 2000 Stanovich, West, & Toplak, 2013). Moreover have tasks connected with 'scientific' and probabilistic reasoning such as covariation detection, hypothesis testing, disjunctive reasoning, and denominator neglect not been found to support a claim for a strong relationship between intelligence tests and operational rationality (e.g., Bruine Frederick, 2005; Stanovich & West, 2000). ...
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Drawing on theoretical frameworks developed in social and cognitive psychology, this thesis examines the degree to which individual and systemic factors may compensate for inherent biases in criminal detectives’ judgments and decision-making. Study I – an interview study – explored criminal detectives’ views of critical factors related to decision making in homicide investigations. Experienced homicide investigators in Norway (n = 15) and the UK (n = 20) were asked to identify decisional ‘tipping point’– decisions that could change detectives’ mind-set from suspect identification to suspect verification together with situational and individual factors relating to these decisions. In a content analysis, two types of decision were identified as typical and potentially critical tipping-points: (1) decisions to point-out, arrest, or charge a suspect, and (2) decisions concerning main strategies and lines of inquiry in the case. Moreover, 10 individual factors (e.g. experience) and 14 situational factors (e.g. who is the victim) were reported as related to the likelihood of mind-set shifts, most of which correspond well with previous decision- making research. Study II, using a quasi-experimental design, compared the quality of investigative decisions made by experienced detectives and novice police officers in two countries with markedly different models for the development of investigative expertise (England and Norway). In England, accredited homicide detectives vastly outperformed novice police officers in the number of adequate investigative hypotheses and actions reported. In Norway, however, bachelor educated police novices did marginally better than highly experienced homicide detectives. Adopting a similar design and the same stimulus material, Study III asked if a general test of cognitive abilities used in the selection process at the Norwegian Police University College could predict police students’ ability to generate investigative hypotheses. The findings did not support such a notion and this is somewhat in line with the available knowledge in the area showing that cognitive ability tests have low predictability for applied reasoning tasks. Taken together, this thesis suggests that investigative judgments are highly susceptible to the individual characteristics and biases of the detective. The results indicate that detective-expertise might act as a viable safeguard against biased decision-making, but length of experience alone does not predict sound judgments or decisions in critical stages of criminal investigations. Education and training is a solid foundation for the making of an expert detective. Nevertheless all participants’ researched across the two experiments were biased towards crime and guilt assumptive hypotheses. Hence, true abductive reasoning (i.e. to identify all competing explanations) and the presumption of innocence is hard to operationalise even for expert detectives with extensive training.
... Similarly, in the case of logical reasoning, the phenomenon known as belief bias may reflect a mixture of strategies, one that generates answers based on validity and the other which generates answers based on belief; if the latter is more common, then the average result looks like belief bias (seeStupple, Ball, Evans, & Kamal-Smith, 2011, for a related suggestion based on a response time analysis). The tendency to use one or the other strategy may depend, amongst other things, on cognitive capacity (Evans, Handley, Neilens, & Over, 2010;Trippas et al., 2013) or analytic thinking dispositions (Stanovich & West, 1997;Trippas, Pennycook, Verde, & Handley, 2015). 2. Answers based on beliefs and logic may differ in their potency or salience. ...
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Article
Two experiments pitted the default-interventionist account of belief bias against a parallel-processing model. According to the former, belief bias occurs because a fast, belief-based evaluation of the conclusion pre-empts a working-memory demanding logical analysis. In contrast, according to the latter both belief-based and logic-based responding occur in parallel. Participants were given deductive reasoning problems of variable complexity and instructed to decide whether the conclusion was valid on half the trials or to decide whether the conclusion was believable on the other half. When belief and logic conflict, the default-interventionist view predicts that it should take less time to respond on the basis of belief than logic, and that the believability of a conclusion should interfere with judgments of validity, but not the reverse. The parallel-processing view predicts that beliefs should interfere with logic judgments only if the processing required to evaluate the logical structure exceeds that required to evaluate the knowledge necessary to make a belief-based judgment, and vice versa otherwise. Consistent with this latter view, for the simplest reasoning problems (modus ponens), judgments of belief resulted in lower accuracy than judgments of validity, and believability interfered more with judgments of validity than the converse. For problems of moderate complexity (modus tollens and single-model syllogisms), the interference was symmetrical, in that validity interfered with belief judgments to the same degree that believability interfered with validity judgments. For the most complex (three-term multiple-model syllogisms), conclusion believability interfered more with judgments of validity than vice versa, in spite of the significant interference from conclusion validity on judgments of belief.
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In der Arbeit wird das ins Deutsche übersetzte Statistical Reasoning Assessment (SRA, Garfield, 2003) hinsichtlich seiner Eignung zur Erfassung statistischer Kompetenz bewertet. Da die Messintention des SRA (statistical reasoning) als Konstrukt, Lehrziel oder kognitiver Prozess verstanden werden kann, erfolgte die Validierung hinsichtlich dieser drei Aspekte. Das Instrument wurde in vier Stichproben (Psychologiestudierende im ersten und zweiten Semester, n = 31 und n = 51, Sonderpädagogikstudierende, n = 277, sowie Masterstudierende mit wenig statistischem Vorwissen, n = 34) jeweils zu Beginn und am Ende einer einsemestrigen Statistiklehrveranstaltung eingesetzt. Zusätzlich zum SRA wurden kognitive Leistungsmaße (mathematische Fertigkeiten, deduktives Schließen, Figurreihenfortsetzungsaufgaben) sowie Einstellungen zu Statistik (Survey of Attitudes Towards Statistics) erhoben. Die explorativen und konfirmatorischen faktoriellen Analysen des SRA für die 8 Stichproben ergaben keine klaren Hinweise auf eine erwartete ein-, vier- oder achtdimensionale Struktur für das correct statistical reasoning. Der Vergleich der Summe gelöster Items und Itemschwierigkeiten zwischen Stichproben (Psychologie vs. Sonderpädagogik, Master) und im Zeitverlauf (Beginn vs. Ende des Semesters) ergaben nur für Studierende der Psychologie im ersten Semester niedrige bis moderate Effekte. Korrelations- und Regressionsanalysen zeigten für den SRA-Wert am Ende des Semesters geringe inkrementelle Varianzaufklärung durch Figurreihenfortsetzungsaufgaben über andere kognitive Maße, Einstellungen zu Statistik sowie den SRA-Wert zu Beginn des Semesters hinaus. Insgesamt ließen sich wenige Hinweise auf die Inhaltsvalidität, die konvergente und diskriminante Konstrukt- sowie Lehrzielvalidität beobachten. Auf Basis der Ergebnisse wird eine Empfehlung für die Konstruktion eines validen Instruments zur Erfassung von Statistikkompetenz aufgezeigt.
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Previous psychological research on criminal investigation has not systematically addressed the role of deductive and inductive reasoning skills in decision-making in detectives. This study examined the relationship between these skills derived from a cognitive ability test used for police recruitment and test scores from an investigative reasoning skills task (Fahsing and Ask 2016). Newly recruited students at the Norwegian Police University College (N = 166) were presented with two semi-fictitious missing-person cases and were asked to report all relevant hypotheses and necessary investigative actions in each case. The quality of participants’ responses was gauged by comparison with a gold standard established by a panel of senior police experts. The scores from the deductive and inductive reasoning test were not related to participants’ performance on the investigative reasoning task. However, the presence or absence of an investigative “tipping-point” (i.e. arrest decision) in the two cases was systematically associated with participants’ ability to generate investigative hypotheses. Methodological limitations and implications for police recruitment and criminal investigative practice are discussed.
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