Impulsive-reflective cognitive style, metacognition, and emotion in adolescence

Paola Palladino, Paola Poli, Gabriele Masi, Mara Marcheschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study investigated the relationship between reflective or impulsive cognitive style, metacognitive functioning, and depression in young adolescents. Metacognitive functioning (metacognitive knowledge about reading and memory, monitoring of text comprehension) and self-reported depressive feelings were analyzed in a group of subjects who showed a Reflective or Impulsive cognitive style. The sample consisted of 56 junior high-school students (Grades 6, 7, and 8) selected from a larger original group of 61 subjects. We excluded from the original group those with an IQ below 75 on both the Verbal and Performance subscales on the short form of the WISC-R, those reported by teachers to have a severe learning disability, and those that did not complete the test battery due to long absences from school. The reflective-impulsive cognitive style was identified with the Matching Familiar Figures Test-20. Using the median of the distribution for both Latency (17 sec. per item) and Errors (9 errors) on this task, the sample was divided in four partially overlapping subgroups: 16 with Impulsive cognitive style (Latency below the median, Errors above the median), 13 with Reflective cognitive style (Latency above the median, Error below the median), 4 fast and accurate (both scores below the median), and 11 slow and inaccurate (both scores above the median). Twelve subjects with one or both scores coinciding with the critical value (median) were excluded. Analysis showed that subjects with Impulsive cognitive style had significantly lower scores than those with Reflective cognitive style in monitoring of comprehension of text. No differences were found on monitoring by eighth graders, irrespective of cognitive style. No differences between the two groups were found in metacognitive knowledge. Subjects with Impulsive cognitive style had significantly higher scores than subjects with Reflective cognitive style on a self-rating scale for childhood depression, the Children's Depression Inventory. The implications of these data are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalPerceptual and Motor Skills
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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