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A mathematical model of the cognitive reflection test

Campitelli, G. and Gerrans, P. (2013) A mathematical model of the cognitive reflection test. In: 40th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, 3 - 6 April 2013, Adelaide, Australia


The cognitive reflection test (CRT, Frederick, 2005) aims to measure the ability or disposition to resist reporting the response that first comes to mind, it contains three problems, and is typically completed in less than ten minutes. We used a mathematical modelling approach, based on a sample of 2,019 participants, to investigate properties of this test. Given that the test contains three mathematical problems, is this test just a numeracy test? We found that the models that include a critical thinking parameter (i.e., the probability of inhibiting an intuitive response), as well as a numeracy parameter (i.e., the probability of using an adequate mathematical procedure), fitted the data better than a model that only included a numeracy parameter. We also found that the critical thinking parameter in males is best explained by both a critical thinking ability and a critical thinking disposition, whereas in females this parameter was better explained by only a critical thinking ability.

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