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Inquiry: Critical Thinking Across the Disciplines

Volume 27, Issue 2, Summer 2012

Brenda Oyer, Mark Gillespie, Mohammed Issah, Daniel Fasko
Pages 40-49

The Role of Personality in Argument Evaluation

Argument evaluation, the ability to separate prior belief from evaluation of the quality of an argument, is an essential element of critical thinking. The present study examined the ability of three personality traits (dogmatism, openness to experience, and open-mindedness) to predict argument evaluation quality and belief bias. One hundred and twelve undergraduate students completed the Argument Evaluation Test (Stanovich & West, 1997), measures of Dogmatism, Open-Mindedness, Openness to Experience, and a Vocabulary test. Argument Evaluation Quality was negatively related to Dogmatism, and positively related to Openness to Experience and Vocabulary. Path analysis showed that, when controlling for Vocabulary, Dogmatism was the only personality variable that significantly (negatively) predicted Argument Evaluation Quality. None of the variables in our study were related to belief bias. Implications for future research and educational practice are discussed.

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