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Feb. 11, 2021

/PRNewswire/ -- Social media has become a significant channel for social interactions, political communications, and marketing. However, little is known about the effect of cognitive style on how people engage with social media. A new study by MIT Sloan Research Affiliate

MIT Sloan study finds thinking style impacts how people use social media
MIT Sloan study finds thinking style impacts how people use social media

Mohsen Mosleh

MIT Sloan School of Management

Prof.

MIT Sloan study finds thinking style impacts how people use social media
MIT Sloan study finds thinking style impacts how people use social media

David Rand

and their collaborators shows that people who engage in more analytical thinking are more discerning in their social media use, sharing news content from more reliable sources and tweeting about more substantial topics like politics.

"It's important to understand how people interact on social media and what influences their decisions to share content and follow different accounts. Prior studies have explored the relationship between social media use and personality and demographic measures, but this is the first study to show the connection with cognitive style," says Rand.

MIT Sloan study finds thinking style impacts how people use social media
MIT Sloan study finds thinking style impacts how people use social media

Mosleh, a professor at the University of Exeter Business School, explains, "In the field of cognitive science, some argue that critical thinking doesn't have much to do with our daily life, but this study shows that it matters  critical thinkers are better able to use social media in meaningful ways, which has become an important part of modern life."

In their study, the researchers measure Twitter-users cognitive style using the Cognitive Reflection Test (CRT), which is a set of questions with intuitively compelling but incorrect answers. For example, participants might be asked "If you are running a race and you pass the person in second place, what place are you in? The answer that intuitively comes to mind for many people is "first place," however "second place" is the correct answer.

Mosleh points out that there is disagreement in the field of cognitive science about the relative roles of intuition and reflection in people's everyday lives. S