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Personal fables and rational thinking in adolescence

Eric Tardif & Marjorie Valls

Department of development from child to adulthood, University of teacher education, Lausanne, Switzerland


This study aimed at exploring the association between egocentrism and rationality in adolescence. The sample consisted of 118 adolescents (46.6% of girls; mean age= 13.4±1.3) who completed a self-report questionnaire assessing personal fables dimensions (uniqueness, omnipotence and invulnerability), and 8 syllogistic reasoning tasks (four conflict and four non-conflict syllogisms) assessing rational thinking. Results showed a negative correlation between omnipotence and age in girls, whereas this correlation was positive and marginally significant in boys. A significant gender difference was found in omnipotence, with boys having higher scores. For conflict syllogisms only, significantly higher scores were found in 15-17 years old in comparison to 11-12 years old groups. Conflict syllogisms were negatively correlated to omnipotence and invulnerability in girls only. Our findings suggest that egocentrism and rational thinking are partially related constructs in adolescents. Further research would be needed to assess the relationship between egocentrism and other forms of rationality.

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