Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Rational Thinking

  • Nikki BlacksmithEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1897-1



Rational thinking refers to differences across individuals in their tendency and need to process information in an effortful, analytical manner while using a rule-based system of logic.


Rational thinking (or more formally, information processing) refers to differences across individuals in their tendency and need to process information in an effortful, analytical manner using a rule-based system of logic (Epstein et al. 1996; Scott and Bruce 1995; Stanovich and West 1998; Phillips et al. 2016). In other words, rational thinking is one’s preferred manner or style in which information from the environment is cognitively processed for sense-making. Although rational thinking deals with cognitive functioning, it is not a cognitive ability; it is a conative disposition – a natural tendency, impulse, or directed effort. Cognitive ability (a component of intelligence) refers to the capacityto...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Foundational Science Research UnitConsortium Research Fellows ProgramAlexandriaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • John F. Rauthmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWake Forest UniversityWinston-SalemUSA