Explicit Conditional Reasoning Performance: An Examination of Educational Past, Processing Load, and Self-Efficacy

Maura Angela Esterina Pilotti
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University

Siddiqua Aamir
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University

Runna Al Ghazo
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University

Halah Al Kuhayli
Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University

The main aim of the present investigation was to examine conditional reasoning skills in college students whose educational past had emphasized verbatim learning. A successive independent-samples design was utilized to explore the effects of instruction that explicitly targeted critical thinking principles in either freshman students or sophomores. Conditional reasoning scores of freshman students were not higher than those of sophomores, even when the impact of either GPA or self-efficacy was statistically controlled. Furthermore, the students in our sample performed as well as students with a similar educational past, whereas both scored below students whose education had deemphasized verbatim learning. In addition to past educational practices, differences in performance arose from processing load. Not surprisingly, self-efficacy and processing load (as determined by a test read in the second language), but not GPA, predicted conditional reasoning scores. We conclude that demanding cognitive computations, such as those of a conditional reasoning test taken in a second language, not only reflect the test-taker’s knowledge, but also are sensitive to processing load, and past educational practices, as well as self-efficacy since confidence in one’s abilities translates into effort and persistence.

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