The one and the many: Both/and reasoning and the embracement of pluralism

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This article outlines the basic structure of a Pluralistic Thinking Model (PTM). The model posits the activity of endorsing multiplicity and complexity as an individual difference factor. Pluralistic thinking is neither the reverse of prejudice, nor synonymous with multiculturalism, and deserves a conceptual space of its own. At its foundation lies a style of interpreting the world through a “both/and” lens. The PTM posits five drivers of pluralism: cognitive attributes, motivational factors (emotional and personality traits), a developmental trajectory, personal experience, and socio-cultural surround. Each of these is supported by research findings. While pluralism may lead to a sustainable embracement of diversity, it is challenging to maintain across domains and targets, indicating its domain-specificity. This paper presents two new tools for measuring pluralistic thinking: the Pluralistic Thinking Scale (PTS) and the Magic Wand Survey (MWS). Suggestions are offered for further exploration of the concept and for its social and ethical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-450
Number of pages22
JournalTheory and Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • attitudes
  • diversity embracement
  • pluralism
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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