Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 173–188 | Cite as

Structure and Content: The Relationship Between Reflective Judgment and Laypeople's Viewpoints

  • Anna Kajanne


A neglected research area involving the relationship between structure and content in thinking is explored in this study. Fifty-nine adults participated in initial (1986–88) and follow-up (1993–94) interviews on Reflective Judgment (RJ) dilemmas devised by Kitchener and King. An earlier study by A.-M. Pirttilä-Backman and A. Kajanne (2001) showed that Reflective Judgment mean scores were higher in the second interview round than those in the first. One of the Kitchener and King dilemmas on food additives was investigated further. In another study using the same data, A. Kajanne and A.-M. Pirttilä-Backman (1996) presented 4 categories of standpoints (Harmful, Safe, Both, and Neither) on food additives that were apparent in both interviews. A shift from the more clear-cut (Harmful and Safe) to the more moderate (Both and Neither) standpoints was detected between the 2 studies. The results of these two studies are utilized here in investigating the connection between form and content in thinking. In both interviews the mean stage scores on Reflective Judgment differed according to the standpoint taken. Stages 4 and 5 formed a dividing line: those under this line chose one of the clear-cut standpoints more often than those above it. Some contents were independent of the stage scores, but others were closely linked to them.

adults development Reflective Judgment structure and content 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Kajanne
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social PsychologyUniversity ofHelsinkiFinland

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