ERIC Number: EJ1032814
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jul
Reference Count: 33
The Assessment of Rational Thinking: IQ ? RQ
Stanovich, Keith E.; West, Richard F.
Teaching of Psychology, v41 n3 p265-271 Jul 2014
In this article the authors argue that distinguishing between rationality and intelligence helps explain how people can be, at the same time, intelligent and irrational (Stanovich, 2009). As such, researchers need to study separately the individual differences in cognitive skills that underlie intelligence and the individual differences in cognitive skills that underlie rational thinking because they are conceptually and empirically different. The authors go on to examine how critical attributes of human cognition relating specifically to rationality are not assessed on IQ tests (or in proxies such as academic ability tests). They clarify that rationality is a mental quality that is theoretically and empirically separable from intelligence, and individual differences on IQ tests are not proxies for individual differences in rational thinking. Thus, if one wants to assess differences in rational thinking, one needs specifically to assess the components of rational thought directly because an intelligence quotient does not provide a RQ. At present, of course, there is no IQ-type test for rationality--that is, there is not a test of one's RQ. But researchers know the types of thinking processes that such an instrument would assess, and they have in hand prototypes of the kinds of tasks that would be used in the domains of both instrumental rationality and epistemic rationality. The authors go on to describe several areas of rational thinking that have a dense history of empirical research and with paradigms that could serve as assessment devices. They conclude that humans have coherent and well-operationalized concepts of rational action and belief formation. Humans also have a coherent and well-operationalized concept of intelligence. No scientific purpose is served by fusing these concepts because they are very different. To the contrary, differentiating the concepts will result in scientific progress. There is a decade-long history of measuring the intelligence concept. It is high time equal energy, as a discipline, is put into the measurement of a mental quality that is just as important--rationality.
Descriptors: Intelligence, Responses, Cognitive Processes, Intelligence Quotient, Intelligence Tests, Logical Thinking, Evaluation Methods, Test Construction, Decision Making, Measurement Techniques
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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