Can you see things from your opponent’s point of view? -- The relationship between critical thinking dispositions and the ability to articulate views different from one’s own


Citizens today are increasingly called upon to critically examine current social issues from different points of view and to engage in public debate about them. Accordingly, training in critical thinking and debate is an important part of Japanese college education. In this study, 72 college students were given a newspaper article about homeless patients being "dumped" by hospitals in Los Angeles. The article was sympathetic to the patients. The students were then asked to comment on the situation from a "neoliberal" standpoint that stressed the value of competition. While 56 students had no difficulty arguing from the alternative standpoint, 16 students were unable to do so and disparaged the hospitals' immoral behavior. The latter group scored significantly lower on the "need for cognition" scale. Protocol analyses revealed that this group had trouble setting their own opinions aside when tasked with articulating views different from their own.

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