Critical thinking predicts academic performance beyond general cognitive ability: Evidence from adults and children

Xuezhu Ren, Yan Tong, Peng Peng, Tengfei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present research investigated whether critical thinking predicts academic performance above and beyond general cognitive ability. Both critical thinking (CT) skills and dispositions were investigated in order to obtain a complete picture of CT and its relations to academic performance and general cognitive ability including fluid intelligence, working memory and processing speed. Measures of these variables were administrated to both university young adults (N = 232, study 1, a self-report scale was used for assessing academic performance) and primary school children (N = 158, study 2). Both studies showed that CT indicated by skills and dispositions made unique contributions to academic performance even when general cognitive ability was controlled for. Further, it was mainly CT dispositions that uniquely contributed to academic performance while the contribution of CT skills to academic performance largely overlapped with general cognitive ability. Our findings provide a first step toward understanding CT as a distinct construct from general cognitive ability in relation to learning and academic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101487
JournalIntelligence
Volume82
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Academic performance
  • Critical thinking disposition
  • Critical thinking skill
  • General cognitive ability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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