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Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 25, Issue 3, Fall 2010

Robert L. Williams, Kathleen B. Aspiranti, Katherine R. Krohn
Pages 22-30
DOI: 10.5840/inquiryctnews201025320

Critical Thinking and Sociopolitical Values Reflective of Political Ideology

Critical thinking measures have often been empirically associated with other cognitive dimensions (e.g., achievement test scores, IQ scores, exam scores) but seldom with sociopolitical perspectives. Consequently, the current study examined the relationship of critical thinking to sociopolitical values reflective of political ideology, namely respect for civil liberties, emphasis on national security, militarism, and support for the Iraq War. In a sample of 232 undergraduates attending a Southeastern university, critical thinking correlated significantly with respect for civil liberties (.19), emphasis on national security (-.29), militarism (-.25), and support for the Iraq War (-.28). A logistic regression analysis showed that the sociopolitical measures significantly predicted placement in high and low critical thinking groups, with support for the Iraq War being the primary predictor. A multivariate analysis (MANOVA) revealed that the sociopolitical means for the high and low critical thinking groups all differed significantly. The results suggest that critical thinking scores are generally predictive of liberal versus conservative political ideology.

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