The relationship between cognitive style and political orientation depends on the measures used
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KünyeYilmaz, O., Saribay, S.A. (2017). The relationship between cognitive style and political orientation depends on the measures used. Judgment and Decision Making, 12(2), 140-147.
The present research investigated the reason for mixed evidence concerning the relationship between analytic cognitive style (ACS) and political orientation in previous research. Most past research operationalized ACS with the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), which has been criticized as relying heavily on numeracy skills, and operationalized political orientation with the single-item self-placement measure, which has been criticized as masking the distinction between social and economic conservatism. The present research recruited an Amazon Mechanical Turk sample and, for the first time, simultaneously employed three separate ACS measures (CRT, CRT2, Baserate conflict problems), a measure of attitudes toward self-critical and reflective thinking (the Actively Open-Minded Thinking Scale; AOT), and separate measures of social and economic conservatism, as well the standard measure of political orientation. As expected, the total ACS score (combination of the separatemeasures) was negatively related to social, but not economic, conservatism. However, the CRT by itself was not related to conservatism, in parallel with some past findings, while the two other measures of ACS showed the same pattern as the combined score. Trait reflectiveness (AOT) was related negatively to all measures of political conservatism (social, economic, and general). Results clearly suggest that the conclusion reached regarding the ACS-political orientation relationship depends on the measure (s) used, with the measure most commonly employed in past research (CRT) behaving differently than other measures. Future research must further pursue the implications of the known differences (e.g., reliance on numeracy vs. verbal skills) of ACS measures and distinguish different senses of reflectiveness.