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Measuring rational thinking in adolescents: The Assessment of Rational Thinking in Youth (ART-Y)

Wednesday 1 November 2023, 14:00-15:00
Online: book below
Maggie Toplak



Several developmental studies have demonstrated that rational thinking is measurable in children and youth. In this study, we examined five measures of rational thinking in an adolescent sample. The mean age of the participants was 15.4 years (SD=1.2 years; range 13-18 years of age). The rational thinking tasks included probabilistic and statistical thinking, scientific thinking, knowledge calibration, avoidance of framing and rational temporal discounting. Indirect measures of rational thinking were examined as predictors, including cognitive reflection, probabilistic numeracy, actively open-minded thinking and rejection of superstitious thinking. Cognitive abilities were also assessed to measure the cognitive decoupling requirements of these tasks. Consistent with studies on parallel tasks that have been examined in adult samples on the Comprehensive Assessment of Rational Thinking (CART; Stanovich, West & Toplak, 2016), performance on the five rational thinking tasks were positively correlated. Consistent with data patterns from developmental studies, individual differences in indirect measures of rational thinking and cognitive abilities displayed stronger effect sizes than age in explaining rational thinking performance. The effect size of these correlations varied across the rational thinking tasks, which were predictable from the processing and knowledge requirements of each task.


The speaker

Dr. Maggie Toplak is a Professor in the Clinical-Developmental Area of the Department of Psychology at York University. The focus of her research is on judgment, decision-making and rational thinking, including their associations with individual differences in cognitive abilities. Her research has been informed by using participants across the lifespan (including children, youth and adults) and with special populations (including youth with ADHD). Most recently, she has published a book entitled: Cognitive sophistication and the development of judgment and decision-making. This book integrates her research from a 9 year longitudinal study on the developmental trajectories of these competencies.