Dichotomous thinking and cognitive ability

Takahiro Mieda*, Kanako Taku, Atsushi Oshio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Dichotomous thinking has three dimensions: preference for dichotomy, dichotomous belief and profit-and-loss thinking. Previous studies imply that the dichotomous thinking is associated with low cognitive abilities and low level of education attainment. In the present study, we examined the relationships between dichotomous thinking and cognitive abilities, educational attainment in Japanese undergraduate sample and wider population sample who have different educational background. They completed Dichotomous Thinking Inventory and one of four cognitive tasks: The Cattel's Culture Fair Intelligence Test, Tanaka B method Intelligence Scale, syllogism test or the BAROCO short. Overall, correlation coefficients between the dichotomous thinking and the cognitive tasks were small but significantly negative in undergraduate sample. In wider population sample, dichotomous beliefs were negatively associated with cognitive ability, while profit-and-loss thinking was positively associated. Additionally, multiple regression analyses revealed that people with low level educational background show higher dichotomous thinking tendency. These findings indicate that the relationship between the dichotomous thinking and cognitive ability depends on the dimension, whereas dichotomous thinking is generally related to low educational attainment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110008
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Feb 1


  • Cognitive ability
  • Dichotomous thinking
  • IQ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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