Here's a simple question:
A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
What answer did you give? In a study at Princeton, those answering 10 cents were significantly less patient than people answering 5 cents (yes, the answer is 5 cents - do it with x's).
From the Journal of Economic Perspectives comes this interesting reflection on the CRT or Cognitive Reflection Test. Highly reflective individuals tend to be more patient (they are more likely to opt for delay gratification choices involving money or massages, pay less than a median person for express shipping, etc.) and they are more likely to be men.
In general, higher CRT also correlated with other measures of achievement like the SAT and ACT, and long-term benefits in financial decision making. An interesting point to consider is how reflective and intuitive thinking (ala Blink) may be oppositional. There are many situations in which "instantaeous" or intuitive thinking would beat out slow, but we'll leave that for a future post.
For more informative articles on reflective thinking and teaching, check out the links below.
CRT: Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making
Reflective Thought, Critical Thinking. ERIC Digest
Teaching Reflective Skills in an Engineering Course
Reflective Teaching, Reflective Learning, book chapter
Eide Neurolearning Blog: The Examined Life: Cultivating Self-Reflection and the Return of Socratic Thinking
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Direct and Reflected Self-Reflection