The Fit of Thinking Style and Situation: New Measures of Situation-Specific Experiential and Rational Cognition
Posted: 8 Aug 2005 Last revised: 6 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 27, 2007
Decades of theoretical and empirical research in social and cognitive psychology provide strong evidence that consumers process information in two distinct and qualitatively different ways: rational and experiential. However, there has been surprisingly little research attention devoted to explicitly measuring how situational influences directly impact thinking style. Further, attempts to simultaneously measure the two dimensions of thinking style as either situation-specific or as an enduring state are even fewer and lack validation in a broad context. In five studies, we develop and validate a new instrument for measuring experiential and rational situation-specific thinking style in the context of a range of performance tasks designed to induce primarily rational or experiential cognition, as well as in the context of differing motivations toward the same task. We establish congruence effects related to the fit of situation-specific thinking style and the nature of the task on performance outcomes; also, we show that the prediction of task performance and related outcomes from dispositional thinking style is completely mediated by situation-specific thinking style.
Keywords: dual process theory, task performance, thinking style, information processing, experiential thinking, rational thinking, priming, online research
JEL Classification: M31, M39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation