People seem to have two different modes of thinking:

  1. fast intuitive automatic thinking

  2. slower logical thinking

The Rational Experiental Inventory measures to what degree people engage in these two modes of thinking. According to the model of the developers (Pacini & Epstein, 1999), the thinking style reflects part of people’s personality. This work is based on Epstein’s theoretical work, known as the Cognitive Exprimental Self Theory (CEST). You can read more about this here and here.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a famous book by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winning psychologist. This book focuses on the distinction between two modes of thinking: System 1 is fast and intuitive. System 2 is slower and more logical. Great video with Kahneman explaining the theory.

There were earlier versions of the REI. This PsyToolkit implementation uses the improved REI (Pacini & Epstein, 1999). This scale has 40 Likert items.

The scale results in 2 main scales (rationality and experientiality, 1 and 3 below), and 4 subscales (numbers 2,3, 5, and 6 below):

  1. Rationality

  2. Rational Ability

  3. Rational Engagement

  4. Experientiality

  5. Experiential Ability

  6. Experiential Engagement

Interestingly, in most of these scales (except Rational Engagement), there is a difference between men and women. Men score higher on rationality and women on experientiality (see Table 5 of the Pacini and Epstein apper, some of these data are in the table below).

Table 1. Average scores of men and women (315 women, 75 men, 9 unknown).
Scale Men Women




Rational Ability



Rational Engagement






Experiential Ability



Experiential Engagement



In the Pacini and Epstein paper, the scale is described as running from "from 1 (definitely not true of myself) to 5 (definitely true of myself)." (p.974). In this PsyToolkit implementation, the scores between those two have been labeled as well by me, and the way they have been labeled is being used elsewhere as well. It is unclear if they did this in the original study.

Run the demo

It seems that the improved REI, described in Pacini and Epstein’s article (1999), can be used by researchers as long as the original paper and authors are acknowledged.


This is a fairly standard type of scale question in which some items are reverse scored. Because the scale’s runs from 1 to 5, the score does not need to be explicitly set in the scale, because the default scoring starts with 1.

Also note that the code has two lines starting with a # sign. These are comment lines which the computer ignores, but which are handy for humans trying to understand the code.

The survey code for PsyToolkit

Copy and paste this code to your PsyToolkit account if you want to use the scale in your own online research project
scale: rei_agree
- definitely not true of myself
- somewhat not true of myself
- neither true nor untrue of myself
- somewhat true of myself
- definitely true of myself

## RS is abbreviation for Rationality Scale
## ES is abbreviation for Experientiality Scale

l: RS
t: scale rei_agree
q: For each stattement, indicate how true it is for you:
- {reverse} I try to avoid situations that require thinking in depth about something
- {reverse} I'm not that good at figuring out complicated problems
- I enjoy intellectual challenges
- {reverse} I am not very good at solving problems that require careful logical analysis
- {reverse} I don't like to have to do a lot of thinking
- I enjoy solving problems that require hard thinking
- {reverse} Thinking is not my idea of an enjoyable activity
- {reverse} I am not a very analytical thinker
- {reverse} Reasoning things out carefully is not one of my strong points
- I prefer complex problems to simple problems
- {reverse} Thinking hard and for a long time about something gives me little satisfaction
- {reverse} I don't reason well under pressure
- I am much better at figuring things out logically than most people
- I have a logical mind
- I enjoy thinking in abstract terms
- I have no problem thinking things through carefully
- Using logic usually works well for me in figuring out problems in my life
- {reverse} Knowing the answer without having to understand the reasoning behind it is good enough for me
- I usually have clear, explainable reasons for my decisions
- Learning new ways to think would be very appealing to me

l: ES
t: scale rei_agree
q: For each stattement, indicate how true it is for you:
- I like to rely on my intuitive impressions
- {reverse} I don't have a very good sense of intuition
- Using my gut feelings usually works well for me in figuring out problems in my life
- I believe in trusting my hunches
- Intuition can be a very useful way to solve problems
- I often go by my instincts when deciding on a course of action
- I trust my initial feelings about people
- When it comes to trusting people, I can usually rely on my gut feelings
- {reverse} If I were to rely on my gut feelings, I would often make mistakes
- {reverse} I don't like situations in which I have to rely on intuition
- I think there are times when one should rely on one's intuition
- {reverse} I think it is foolish to make important decisions based on feelings
- {reverse} I don't think it is a good idea to rely on one's intuition for important decisions
- {reverse} I generally don't depend on my feelings to help me make decisions
- I hardly ever go wrong when I listen to my deepest gut feelings to find an answer
- {reverse} I would not want to depend on anyone who described himself or herself as intuitive
- {reverse} My snap judgments are probably not as good as most people's
- I tend to use my heart as a guide for my actions
- I can usually feel when a person is right or wrong, even if I can't explain how I know
- {reverse} I suspect my hunches are inaccurate as often as they are accurate

l: score_e
t: set
- mean $ES

l: score_ee
t: set
- mean $ES.1 $ES.5 $ES.6 $ES.10 $ES.11 $ES.12 $ES.13 $ES.14 $ES.16 $ES.18

l: score_ea
t: set
- mean $ES.2 $ES.3 $ES.4 $ES.7 $ES.8 $ES.9 $ES.15 $ES.17 $ES.19 $ES.20

l: score_r
t: set
- mean $RS

l: score_re
t: set
- mean $RS.1 $RS.3 $RS.5 $RS.6 $RS.7 $RS.10 $RS.11 $RS.15 $RS.18 $RS.20

l: score_ra
t: set
- mean $RS.2 $RS.4 $RS.8 $RS.9 $RS.12 $RS.13 $RS.14 $RS.16 $RS.17 $RS.19

l: feedback
t: info
q: Feedback<br><br>
Here is a table with your scores, the range of possible scores, and the scores of the population in the original study:<br><br>
<table border=1>
<tr> <th>Scale</th>                   <th>range</th>  <th>You</th>       <th>Men</th><th>Women</th></tr>
<tr> <td>Rationality</td>             <td>1-5</td> <td>{$score_r}</td>   <td>3.54</td><td>3.36</td></tr>
<tr> <td>Rational ability</td>        <td>1-5</td> <td>{$score_ra}</td>  <td>3.54</td><td>3.29</td></tr>
<tr> <td>Rational engagement</td>     <td>1-5</td> <td>{$score_re}</td>  <td>3.55</td><td>3.42</td></tr>
<tr> <td>Experientiality</td>         <td>1-5</td> <td>{$score_e}</td>   <td>3.33</td><td>3.57</td></tr>
<tr> <td>Experiential ability</td>    <td>1-5</td> <td>{$score_ea}</td>  <td>3.35</td><td>3.53</td></tr>
<tr> <td>Experiential engagement</td> <td>1-5</td> <td>{$score_ee}</td>  <td>3.31</td><td>3.61</td></tr>


  • Pacini, R. and Epstein, S. (1999). The Relation of Rational and Experiential Information Processing Styles to Personality, Basic Beliefs, and the Ratio-Bias Phenomenon. Personality and Individual Differences, 76, 972-987.

  • Daniel Kahneman on Thinking, Fast and Slow. Interview on YouTube.

  • Winerman, L. (2005). What we know without knowing how. APA Monitor, 36, 50. Retrieved from here.