Gender differences in experiential thinking and perceptions of infidelity.
Burton, L. J. (2010). An interactive approach to writing essays and research reports in
psychology (3rd ed.). Brisbane: John Wiley.
Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., Namy, L.L., Woolf, N.J., Jamieson, G., Marks, A., & Slaughter, V.
(2015). Psychology: From inquiry to understanding (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Pearson Australia.
Blow, A. J., & Hartnett, K. (2005). Infidelity in committed relationships II: A substantive
review. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy,31, 217–233.( link to PDF)
Sladek, R. M., Bond, M. J., & Phillips, P. A. (2010). Age and gender differences in preferences
for rational and experiential thinking. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(8), 907-
911. (link to PDF)
Thornton, V. & Nagurney, A. (2011). What is infidelity Perceptions based on biological sex
and personality. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 4, 51–58. (link to PDF)
Epstein, S. (1994). Integration of the cognitive and the psychodynamic unconscious.
American Psychologist, 49, 709–724. (link to PDF ) (Note: provided for background. Only
need to read pp. 714-716)
Pacini, R., & Epstein, S. (1999). The relation of rational and experiential information
processing styles to personality, basic beliefs, and the ratio-bias phenomenon. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 76(6), 972-987. (link to PDF) (Note: This is the reference
for the measure of thinking style (the REI) that we use in this study. You are not required to
draw any information from this paper for your report.)
NOTE: there is a WORD TEMPLATE for research reports in the Research Report Assignment
section on Moodle main page
Epstein (1994) introduced a dual-process model of thinking that suggests human behaviour
is controlled by two distinct information processing systems: (1) a rational system that is
conscious, controlled, logic-based, and largely affect free, and (2) an experiential system
that is predominantly preconscious, automatic, and tied to intuition and affect. (Note: the
word “affect” in psychology refers to mood or emotion). Under Epstein’s model (known as
Cognitive-Experiential Self Theory; CEST), it is proposed that behaviour is determined by the
interaction of these controlled and automatic processing systems, and that individuals differ
in their preference for using rational or experiential thinking. A 40-item self-report
questionnaire has been developed to assess preference for either type of thinking. We will
use this scale, the Rational-Experiential Inventory (REI), in our study.
Sladek, Bond, and Phillips (2010) report gender differences in preference for rational versus
experiential thinking style, with females tending towards a more experiential style. (They
also report small age effects, which you might find interesting in your Discussion section, but
are not an immediate focus of this report).
Thornton and Nagurny (2011) report the results of an investigation into perceptions of
infidelity and how these perceptions differ based on gender (and certain personality traits),
with females showing greater perceptions of infidelity. In doing so, they developed a 19-
item questionnaire to assess perceptions of infidelity and we will use this scale in our study
(with a modified response format). Blow and Hartnett (2005) provide a review of the
psychological literature relating to infidelity in committed relationships, identifying a range
of factors, including gender, which influence perceptions of infidelity.
These findings lead to our research questions:
(1) Is the greater sensitivity to infidelity generally shown by females related to preference
for a more emotional (experiential) thinking style
If this is the case, however, it could be that something gender specific is interacting with
thinking style to influence greater perceptions of infidelity. We can address this issue to
some extent by also asking:
(2) Is preference for an experiential thinking style related to greater perceptions of infidelity,
independent of gender
In our study we are collecting data (variables) to measure the constructs (theoretical
explanations, or descriptions, of unobservable phenomena) of experiential and rational
thinking styles, and perceptions of infidelity. Therefore we can restate our research
questions to make THREE specific predictions (hypotheses) about the behaviour we would
expect from our variables.
IF females’ greater sensitivity to infidelity is related to a more emotional (experiential)
thinking style …
(1) … THEN … females should show greater perceptions of infidelity than males (as
measured by the Perceptions of Infidelity Scale)
(2) … THEN … females should show greater preference for an experiential thinking style
than males (as measured by the REI)
IF experiential thinking style is related to greater perceptions of infidelity, independent of
(3) … THEN … experiential thinking style (as measured by the REI) will be positively
associated with perceptions of infidelity (as measured by the Perceptions of Infidelity Scale)
NOTE that your task in the Introduction of your report is to draw on the literature provided
to develop an evidence based rationale for these hypotheses. Some hints are provided
below (‘Clues’), and further information as to how to go about this as the term progresses.
NOTE: the above hypotheses can be stated verbatim in your Report.
After completing this assignment you should be able to:
describe dual-process theories of cognition and possible reasons for gender
differences in style preference
describe key characteristics of gender differences in perceptions of infidelity
describe the statistical procedures involved in testing differences between two
groups, and association between variables
interpret the results of your findings in this current study
write a research report conforming to APA style requirements
What is required
This assignment task has TWO phases:
1) Data collection
Data collection phase
We will collect data from students enrolled in this Unit. In order to do this, you are invited
to participate in a survey. Data collection will run for 3 weeks, beginning first day of term
and ceasing on 23 November, 2015, after which I will perform all the statistical analyses and
provide you with the results. You will also be supplied with information for your Method
section at this time.
Participation is absolutely anonymous – no names or email addresses are recorded – and is
also completely voluntary. If you would like to complete the survey and help generate the
data please go ahead, but there is no obligation to do so and it will not affect your mark for
this research report component in any way if you chose not to participate. One potential
advantage of participation is that you might gain a better insight into the research
methodology than those who do not participate.
The survey link will be made available on Moodle at the start of the teaching term.
Please consider participating
A 1,500-word Research Report, written in APA style, conforming to the standards set out in
Burton (2010): Title page, Abstract, Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion,
References. The word limit starts at the first word of the Abstract and ends with the last
word of the Discussion (i.e., it does not include the Reference list).
Using only the resources listed above, your research report must cover the following:
A one-paragraph outline of your study, its aims, participants, methodology, results and
implications. In other words, summarise what you did, and why, describe your sample,
outline your results, and present your conclusions. The Abstract for this assignment should
not exceed 150 words (ideally 100-120 words). You should write this section last.
Introduce the topic. Define all constructs. Describe and interpret findings and explanations
that relate to each hypothesis tested in this study. Generate a rationale that allows you to
conclude with clear and directional statements of your hypotheses. For example, do you
predict there will be differences between females and males on the critical outcome
variables If so, in which direction will the differences occur and why would you make this
This section is divided into sub-sections for Participants, Materials, and Procedure. I will
provide information regarding Materials, and Procedure when I release the survey, at
beginning of the trimester.
Present suitable summaries of the descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations)
and describe what inferential statistics (correlation; t-tests) were used to test your
hypotheses (I will provide all this information with the data analysis results). Present the
statistics (two independent groups t-tests, one Pearson’s correlation) in appropriate APA
format and state in each case whether or not the hypothesis being tested was supported.
Remind the reader of the objectives of your study and restate your findings in relation to
each hypothesis. Then, interpret each finding in relation to previous findings and
interpretations and outline the broader implications of these findings. Describe any
shortcomings or limitations of your research and provide a concluding summary.
List only the sources cited in your study – in APA style.
1. Carefully follow the recommendations of Burton (2010) for writing research
reports. Listen carefully to the lecture on Writing Research Reports and APA Style, which
will be available in Week 2 of term, and take note of the lecture slides and use the template
in the Research Report section of the Assessments section of Moodle when formatting your
2. Become familiar with the Research Questions, and think carefully about how the
hypotheses are derived from the questions, in order to address them. Then use the
hypotheses to guide your reading of the assigned papers so that you will be able to extract
information that is relevant to the hypotheses. This information – evidence, interpretation,
and explanation – from the assigned readings will be used to develop a rationale for the
3. Keep in mind that the Introduction of a research report is NOT a full literature review, but
a targeted review focussing on using only information (evidence from research findings, and
associated interpretation) that is directly relevant to the hypotheses to develop a rationale
that supports their derivation.
4. Research reports are comprised of sections. Remember that you can work on sections in
Submission of Assignment
Assignments are to be submitted in PDF only. Please follow the instructions for converting
files to PDF and submitting online assignments here: SUBMISSION OF ASSIGNMENTS
If you are new to study at UNE it is very important to read these submission instructions.
A summary of up to 150 words (100 to 120 words, ideally) that introduces the topic,
describes your task and summarises your conclusions. This criterion also includes adherence
to APA style.
Information from the Literature (15%)
Outline the key findings and explanations from the supplied literature that are relevant
to the research questions.
Integrate the information presented to provide a logical rationale for the study, and to
support derivation of the hypotheses.
Clear, directional statements of the three hypotheses are presented.
Method section (5%)
Correctly present the Methodology in terms of Participants, Materials, and Procedure. This
information will be provided to you when the results are released.
Results section (10%)
Correctly present the descriptive and the inferential statistics provided to you and state
whether or not they support the hypotheses.
Review the aims and objectives of the study and the findings, stating explicitly whether or
not the results supported each of your hypotheses. Results are interpreted relative to the
literature and rationale developed in the Introduction, in terms of their implications for the
research questions. Appropriate conclusion.
Overall clarity of written expression (10%)
Write clearly and concisely. Follow guidelines in Burton (2010). Your writing should flow
logically from one idea to the next.
Adherence to APA style (15%)
Title page (2.5%)
Set out in APA style – see APA Lecture. Remember to include an accurate “word count”
in bottom left hand corner.
Overall format (2.5%)
Font, paragraphs, and headings (etc.) set out in APA style. Using the template provided
will allow you to score the full 2.5% for this criterion.
In-text citations (5%)
See Burton (2010) Chapter 6.
Reference list (5%)
See Burton (2010) Chapter 7
Gender differences in experiential thinking and perceptions of infidelity.