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Table 1 Comparison of the experiential and rational systems according to Cognitive-Experiential Self Theory

From: Thinking styles and doctors' knowledge and behaviours relating to acute coronary syndromes guidelines

Experiential Rational
Holistic Analytic
Emotional; pleasure-pain oriented (what feels good) Logical; reason oriented (what is sensible)
Associationistic connections Cause and effect connections
Outcome oriented Process oriented
Behaviour mediated by vibes from past experience Behaviour mediated by conscious appraisal of events
Encodes reality in concrete images, metaphors, and narratives Encodes reality in abstract symbols, words and numbers
More rapid processing oriented toward immediate action Slower processing oriented toward delayed action
Slower to change; changes with repetitive or intense experience Changes more rapidly; changes with speed of thought
More crudely differentiated; broad generalization gradient; categorical thinking More highly differentiated; dimensional thinking
More crudely integrated; dissociative, organized in part by emotional complexes (cognitive affective modules) More highly integrated
Experienced passively and preconsciously; seized by emotions Experienced actively and consciously; in control of our thoughts
Self evidently valid; "Seeing is believing" Requires justification via logic and evidence
  1. Source: Epstein S: Cognitive-Experiential Self-Theory of personality. In: Personality and social psychology. Edited by Theodore Millon and Melvin J Lerner. New York: Wiley; 2003. [Irving B Weiner (Series Editor): Handbook of psychology, vol 5.]. Copyright © 2003. Reprinted with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.