Ways of thinking: the effect of personality on reasoning

  1. Ascensión Ángeles Fumero Hernández
  2. Carlos Santamaría Moreno
  3. Philip N. Johnson-Laird
Psychology in Spain

ISSN: 1137-9685

Year of publication: 2011

Issue: 15

Pages: 87-93

Type: Article

Export: RIS



  • Social Sciences: D


This paper presents a study for testing the idea that personality affects the way people reason in a predictable way. That is, traits might affect the particular possibilities that individuals envisage, and in turn, influence the way they reason. Different traits, as we have shown, can elicit different ways of thinking, and consequently individuals would reason better in the field pertinent to their personality. We applied to 94 participants the NEO-PI-R personality test and a conditional inference task designed on the basis of the NEO-PI-R items. We found, in general, that our participants reasoned better (higher rate of Modus Tollens) with the material related to the personality trait on which they scored highest. Also those participants scoring high in Extraversion or Neuroticism made more valid inferences than those who scored low in the same trait for the items related to their personality. These results are in accordance with the principle of inferential consequences and the Mental Model Theory of Reasoning.