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Nonabsolute/relativistic thinking: A common factor underlying models of postformal reasoning?

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Abstract

Strong empirical evidence was obtained in support of the proposition that nonabsolute/relativistic (N/R) thinking is a unifying commonality underlying four postformal models of higher-order thinking, namely, problem finding, dialectical reasoning, relativistic operations, and reflective judgment. Within the construct of N/R thinking, two dimensions—the basic form and the epistemic view—and two levels—the formal form and the postformal form—were differentiated as hypothesized. The findings clarify logical relationships among the models as well as provide a common link unifying their diversity. Implications and suggestions for future research are provided.

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Correspondence to Patricia Kennedy Arlin.

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Yan, B., Arlin, P.K. Nonabsolute/relativistic thinking: A common factor underlying models of postformal reasoning?. J Adult Dev 2, 223–240 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02251038

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Key words

  • Postformal reasoning
  • relativistic thinking
  • adult cognition
  • cognitive development