Assessing rational and intuitive thinking styles

  • Witteman C
  • Van Bercken J
  • Claes L
 et al. 
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Theories of dual cognition assume two distinguishable information processing styles: rational and intuitive. We discuss how the concepts of rationality and intuition are used in these theories, and the relations of these two thinking styles to personality character- istics. With the Rational-Experiential Inventory (REI; Pacini & Epstein, 1999), a questionnaire that assesses personal preferences for thinking either rationally or intuitively, we found clear evidence for the independence of the two thinking styles in a large Dutch sample (N = 774). We also found Conscientiousness to be a significant predictor of a preference for rational thinking and an inverse predictor of intuitive thinking. We also administered the REI and a Big Five inventory to a Spanish sample (N = 141), and present these results next to those of the Dutch sample. We further established the validity of the REI’s distinction between rationality and intuition by administering another measure, the Preference for Intuition or Deliberation (PID; Betsch, 2004, 2008), to a subset of the Dutch sample (n = 405).We briefly describe two small studies in which a preference for rationality or intuition, measured by the REI, was found to be related to task behavior. In the general discussion we consider all results together, and compare them to Pacini and Epstein’s results.We conclude that a dual-process distinction between rationality and intuition is valid cross-culturally and that a proclivity toward either is reliably measured by the REI, not only in the USA but in Europe as well

Author-supplied keywords

  • Big five
  • Intuition
  • Rationality

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  • Cilia Witteman

  • John Den Van Bercken

  • Laurence Claes

  • Antonio Godoy

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