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Improving critical thinking: Effects of dispositions and instructions on economics students' reasoning skills

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Publication details

JournalLearning and Instruction
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Jul 2013
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 7 Aug 2013
Volume29
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)31-42
Early online date7/08/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This experiment investigated the impact of critical thinking dispositions and instructions on economics students' performance on reasoning skills. Participants (. N=. 183) were exposed to one of four conditions: critical thinking instruction, critical thinking instruction with self-explanation prompts during subsequent practice, critical thinking instruction with activation prompts during subsequent practice, or no critical thinking instruction or prompts (control). In all conditions, practice was a within-subjects factor, some task categories present in the test were practiced on a business case, others were not. Participants in the instruction conditions significantly outperformed participants in the control condition on the immediate and delayed post-test, but only on the practiced task categories - with the exception of the self-explanations condition, which also showed a better performance than the control condition on not-practiced categories, though only on the immediate post-test. Dispositions (i.e., Actively Open-minded Thinking and Need for Cognition) predicted reasoning skills at pre-test but did not interact with instructions on post-tests performances.

    Research areas

  • Biased reasoning, Critical thinking instructions, Dispositions

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