Critical Thinking 1


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How you can remove yourself from predictable, routine, repetitive, reactionary thought patterns and take charge of your mind.

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Critical Thinking 1

  1. 1. Critical Thinking How you can remove yourself from predictable, routine, repetitive, reactionary thought patterns and take charge of your mind.
  2. 2. Characteristics of Everyday Thinking <ul><li>We like predictability </li></ul><ul><li>Our world is plagued with uncertainty </li></ul><ul><li>A common human shortcoming is the blind acceptance of what another tells us </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics of thinking that play important roles in our lives </li></ul><ul><li>Dreaming, analyzing, reflecting, judging, memorizing, concentrating, forgetting, and reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>To live a more effective life, you must become more aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the way you’re thinking now. </li></ul>
  3. 3. How Are You Thinking? <ul><li>Are you on automatic pilot? </li></ul><ul><li>Is your thinking mindless and routine? </li></ul><ul><li>Is everything black-&-white and absolute? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you look for what is the “right” point of view and “correct” or “incorrect” ways to think? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you take the time to look for explana-tions, interpretations, and conclusions about issues? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you evaluate many different points of view selecting the best of them? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you develop multiple viewpoints on issues? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Thinking on Automatic Pilot <ul><li>Many of our daily activities are like computer programs </li></ul><ul><li>They silently operate in the background controlling and directing much of our thinking and behavior </li></ul><ul><li>We develop routine and repetitive thinking habits that are largely outside of conscious control </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic Mental Control Processes </li></ul><ul><li>These are daily activities that occur without much thought or awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic Pilots </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinated mental programs of which we’re largely unaware </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why do errors occur when we’re on automatic pilot? <ul><li>Being tired, fatigued, rushed for time, or distracted causes errors </li></ul><ul><li>The most common errors: </li></ul><ul><li> Selection errors : What is needed is selected, but it is not what is correct </li></ul><ul><li> Execution errors : What is executed is not completed </li></ul><ul><li> Interference errors : A stronger mental process interferes with the execution of a relatively weaker one </li></ul><ul><li> Blending errors : Two or more automatic pilots are triggered and blended </li></ul>
  6. 6. How can mental errors be managed? <ul><li>Be extra vigilant, monitoring your actions in situations where you acted automatically in the past </li></ul><ul><li>Miscues produce certain side effects. Use these side effects to guide and direct future actions </li></ul><ul><li>Set up cues to break out of habitual thinking patterns </li></ul>
  7. 7. Mindless Thinking <ul><li>The tendency to process information without attention to details in a rather routine and predictable manner </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics of Mindless Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Becoming trapped in categories </li></ul><ul><li>The characteristics of a category are assumed to apply across the board: stereotyping </li></ul><ul><li>Blindly following requests </li></ul><ul><li>The questions of “Why am I doing this?” or “What other options for thinking and behaving do I have?” are not asked </li></ul><ul><li>Acting from a single perspective or mindset </li></ul><ul><li>Acting as if one set of rules applies to every situation </li></ul><ul><li>Failing to consider alternative perspectives on issues </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m right and my point of view is the correct one,” there is no compromise </li></ul>
  8. 8. Consequences of Mindless Thinking <ul><li>Mindless Thinking Creates Four Consequences: </li></ul><ul><li>A narrow self-image </li></ul><ul><li>A narrow self-image produces a limited definition of your self and restricts your experience of life </li></ul><ul><li>It adversely affects your relationships </li></ul><ul><li>The response to the behaviors of others will be automatic, predictable, and inappropriate for the situation </li></ul><ul><li>It produces learned helplessness </li></ul><ul><li>A series of failures can produce a mindset of having no choice and a generalization is made that “I am a failure” </li></ul><ul><li>You become easily influenced by others </li></ul><ul><li>The responsibility for the choices in your life are turned over to another </li></ul>
  9. 9. Three Ways to Defeat Mindlessness <ul><li>Recognize the signs of mindless behavior, and take action to prevent it’s recurrence </li></ul><ul><li>Mindlessness is defeated when you develop Mindfulness : becoming aware of the conditions where mindless thinking prevails </li></ul><ul><li>Actively resist attempts by others to tell you how to think and behave </li></ul><ul><li>Allowing others to tell you how to think and behave removes responsibility from your life and also makes you a robot allowing others to program you to do what they want </li></ul><ul><li>Search for ways to make decisions and gain control over your life </li></ul><ul><li>Life begins to have meaning whenever you work to regain a sense of mastery and control over yourself </li></ul>
  10. 10. Absolute & Extreme Ways of Thinking <ul><li>Irrational Beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Extremist ways of thinking that are absolutistic demands on yourself, others, or the world </li></ul><ul><li>Recognizing irrational beliefs </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to absolutist language: must, should, would, have to, need to, ought to; every, always, never, nothing, certain, totally, essential, only, absolutely, positively; awful, terrible, horrible; can’t, impossible </li></ul><ul><li>Irrational beliefs tend to dominate how you </li></ul><ul><li> think about yourself, others, and the world </li></ul><ul><li>They help to distort your perceptions, keep you stressed-out, and prevent you from taking constructive actions in your life </li></ul>
  11. 11. Managing Absolutistic & Extreme Ways of Thinking <ul><li>Examine the objective facts </li></ul><ul><li>Look at all sides of an argument or situation --- including your part in it </li></ul><ul><li>Interpret events in a balanced manner </li></ul><ul><li>Accept the fact that yours is not the only way of perceiving and interpreting a situation and try to see it from others’ perspective(s) </li></ul><ul><li>Develop plans to overcome the problem and reduce negative emotions </li></ul><ul><li>Mental change must be backed up with behavioral change </li></ul>
  12. 12. Patterns of How People Think <ul><li>Dualism/Received Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Believing that information is either correct or incorrect, right or wrong, and there are fixed ways of looking at the world. This leads to difficulty in independent thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiplism/Subjective Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Uncertainties, doubts, and unknowns do exist and these, in turn, naturally. This leads to considering multiple and alternate points of view. </li></ul><ul><li>Relativism/Prodedural Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Recognition that points of view differ in quality and that good ones are supported by evidence, facts, and other criteria. This leads to independent thinking and analyzing information as well as drawing appropriate conclusions. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Thinking Critically <ul><li>Purposeful, reasoned, evaluative, constructive thinking that takes in all sides of an issue in order to understand it as fully as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Three Characteristics of Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>There is a purpose to Critical Thinking </li></ul><ul><li>It involves deliberate, conscious goal-directed thought and reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Thinking is reasoned </li></ul><ul><li>It emphasizes your ability to examine all of the information relevant to an issue and come to an accurate conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Critical Thinking constructively evaluates more than one side of an issue as well as its positive and negative attributes </li></ul><ul><li>It goes beyond “black-&-white” thinking and looks for facts, evidence, and proof </li></ul>
  14. 14. Principles of Critical Thinking <ul><li>Knowledge is acquired through thinking, reasoning, and questioning, and knowledge is based on facts </li></ul><ul><li>Belief is not knowledge. Beliefs are opinions acted upon as if they were facts. </li></ul><ul><li>Opinions are not based on facts, knowledge, or reasoning. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking is an active process based on applying direct analytic, synthetic, and assessment skills to the information being received. </li></ul><ul><li>It is only from learning how to think that you learn what to think </li></ul><ul><li>The unquestioning acceptance of what another says as fact is not learning nor is it part of the skill of critical thinking. It inhibits any learning from taking place. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning how to think does not involve rote memorization. </li></ul><ul><li>To become educated, you need to learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize, assess, and apply data for yourself. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Principles of Critical Thinking <ul><li>Critical thinking is an organized and systematic process used to judge the effectiveness of an argument </li></ul><ul><li>It is void of emotional constrictions and is, consequently, unbiased. </li></ul><ul><li>In order to be most effective, the critical thinker must have data and facts available to him/her for a rebuttal of the argument. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking is based on empirical evidence. </li></ul><ul><li>Critical thinking is a search for meaning </li></ul><ul><li>The meaning is for yourself in what the author or speaker says, implies, and insinuates. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s a way of making sense out of what you’re reading or hearing in order to find the validity of the data being presented. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Principles of Critical Thinking <ul><li>Critical thinking is a skill that can be learned </li></ul><ul><li>It’s based on active , logical reasoning , on facts and evidence , and a desire to learn . </li></ul><ul><li>Your attitude toward learning is all important in being a critical thinker. It is important that a high value be placed on learning in order for learning to be useful. </li></ul><ul><li>The skill of a critical thinker is learned by doing and by an interchange of information and ideas with others who are assessing the same things. Hearing and assessing opposing points of view are necessary for a decision to be well-founded. In this way, your ideas and arguments can be presented and evaluated. </li></ul><ul><li>You must be actively involved in exchanging thoughts and ideas in order to become a critical thinker. Sitting passively by isn’t how any skill is learned </li></ul><ul><li>A critical thinker needs to be a good listener, researcher, and questioner. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Developing & Evaluating Explanations About Behavior <ul><li>Understand Important Terminology </li></ul><ul><li>Terms, concepts, & principles must be understood & correctly used, & their underlying structure must be explored. </li></ul><ul><li>Recognize Underlying Assumptions </li></ul><ul><li>Identify the assumptions underlying explanations of behavior, challenging old assumptions & developing new ways of thinking. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Questions to get Relevant Information </li></ul><ul><li>Use questions to guide & direct your search for information asking questions in the form of educated guesses . </li></ul><ul><li>Pay Close Attention to the Evidence an Explanation is Based Upon </li></ul><ul><li>Know the difference between an observation and an inference. </li></ul><ul><li>Include personal qualities & situational factors in your explanations. </li></ul><ul><li>Explanations must fit the Underlying Evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Sufficient grounds for your explanation should exist. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that your explanations aren’t too far removed from the underlying evidence. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Managing Attribution Errors <ul><li>Attribution: Making judgments about the causes of behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Attribution errors distort interpretations of your own and others’ actions </li></ul><ul><li>We explain behavior through internal ( personal ) or external ( situational ) factors. </li></ul><ul><li>We tend to explain others’ behavior as being internally motivated, while our own behavior is externally motivated. </li></ul><ul><li>Putting yourself in another’s shoes enhances your capacity to correctly explain their actions </li></ul>
  19. 19. Looking at Attribution Errors <ul><li>Three kinds of information help us assign causality </li></ul><ul><li>Distinctiveness: the uniqueness of a situation </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency: the sameness from situation-to-situation </li></ul><ul><li>Consensus: others acting the same way </li></ul><ul><li>Biases </li></ul><ul><li>Actor-observer bias: explaining others’ behavior via internal causes, while our own via external causes </li></ul><ul><li>Defensive attribution: successes attributed to internal causes, failures due to external causes </li></ul><ul><li>Just-world hypothesis: good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people </li></ul>
  20. 20. Monitoring Your Own Behavior <ul><li>Take the time to look at what caused your behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Rationalizing or making excuses for your behavior doesn’t help you find the causes. </li></ul><ul><li>Look for physical, emotional, psychic, or situational causes. </li></ul><ul><li>Pay attention to the mistake(s) expressing them possibly in a joking manner </li></ul><ul><li>Admitting to a mistake is the first step to doing something about it. It shows you to be an intelligent, competent person. </li></ul><ul><li>Let others know you’re actively doing something about your problem behaviors </li></ul><ul><li>Be open and honest with yourself and others. If you need to ask forgiveness, do so in a sincere manner. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Insuring Accuracy in Explaining Behavior <ul><li>Don’t confuse observations with inferences </li></ul><ul><li>Be sensitive to how personal qualities and situational factors contribute to any behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Take care not to get trapped by attribution errors </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure your explanation of the behavior is based on acceptable evidence, is relevant, and selected only after alternations or conclusions have been ruled out </li></ul>