Analytic cognitive style, not delusional ideation, predicts data gathering in a large beads task study

Robert M. Ross*, Gordon Pennycook, Ryan McKay, Will M. Gervais, Robyn Langdon, Max Coltheart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: It has been proposed that deluded and delusion-prone individuals gather less evidence before forming beliefs than those who are not deluded or delusion-prone. The primary source of evidence for this “jumping to conclusions” (JTC) bias is provided by research that utilises the “beads task” data-gathering paradigm. However, the cognitive mechanisms subserving data gathering in this task are poorly understood. Methods: In the largest published beads task study to date (n = 558), we examined data gathering in the context of influential dual-process theories of reasoning. Results: Analytic cognitive style (the willingness or disposition to critically evaluate outputs from intuitive processing and engage in effortful analytic processing) predicted data gathering in a non-clinical sample, but delusional ideation did not. Conclusion: The relationship between data gathering and analytic cognitive style suggests that dual-process theories of reasoning can contribute to our understanding of the beads task. It is not clear why delusional ideation was not found to be associated with data gathering or analytic cognitive style.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-314
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016


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