Critical thinking presentation isaca participant

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Brief excerpt from our 8-hour critical thinking class.

Brief excerpt from our 8-hour critical thinking class.

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  • Consider these two scenarios (from How We Decide) – In research done with medical professionals, two scenarios are given for handling a potential outbreak that has the potential to kill six hundred people. In option A, you will save 200 people. If you go with option B, you have a 1/3 probability of saving 600 people and 2/3 probability of saving noone. 72% chose option A and only 28% chose option B.When provided the scenario in alternative language, the results were drastically reversed. What changed? The second option stayed the same, but the first option was worded as follows: 400 people will die. When worded this way 22% chose the first option and 78% chose the second option. However, if you think about it, the options were the exact same. So wording does impact judgement. In critical thinking, we need to work through that wording.The one caveat, I will make with discipline is that you can overanalyze the situation. You can have too much information and can begin to confuse correlation with causation. You can create theories out of coincidences and your thinking can be restricted. So there needs to be a balance here. I’m not against analytical analysis. But I am against the notion that every decision should be made with analytical analysis.


  • 1. Petra Learning LLC Critical Thinking and Problem Solving ISACA Presentation (Excerpt from IA104) March 21, 20123/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 1
  • 2. Problem-Solving FrameworkBig picture thinking. Not limited to the “identified” issue. Not working backwards Define Problem Specific Relevant Solvable Analyze Problem Process Mapping Problem Points Detail Analysis Conclusion Design Solution Identify Options Analyze Options Selection Implementation Plan3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 2
  • 3. Critical Thinking Examined“The intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfullyconceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluatinginformation gathered from, or generatedby, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, orcommunication, as a guide to belief and action“Quotable QuoteWe think so because other people all think so; or because – or because– after all we do think so; or because we were told so, and think wemust think so; or because we once thought so, and think we still thinkso; or because, having thought so, we think we will think so…~ Henry Sidgwick3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 3
  • 4. Critical Thinking ExaminedTwo Opposing Views• Rationality: No one always acts purely objectively and rationally. We connive for selfish interests. We gossip, boast, exaggerate, and equivocate. It is "only human" to wish to validate our prior knowledge, to vindicate our prior decisions, or to sustain our earlier beliefs. In the process of satisfying our ego, however, we can often deny ourselves intellectual growth and opportunity. We may not always want to apply critical thinking skills, but we should have those skills available to be employed when needed. (Dan Kurkland)• Emotions: We are not purely rational beings; nor are we meant to be. (Jonah Lehrer)3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 4
  • 5. Critical Thinking DefinedWe are thinking critically when we think with:• Rationality: – Understand and balance reason and emotion – Accept available evidence and follow evidence where it leads, and – Care more about finding the best explanation instead of being right• Self-awareness: – Recognize and weigh the influences of motives, biases, ad prejudices, including our own – Recognize the value of our emotions on the process• Open-mindedness: – Evaluate reasonable inferences without rejecting unpopular views out of hand – Remain open to and consider a variety of possible viewpoints or perspectives, – Accept a new explanation, model, or paradigm because it explains the evidence better – Willing to change view in response to a reevaluation of the evidence or reassessment of interests3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 5
  • 6. Critical Thinking Defined• Honesty: – Recognize emotional impulses and any self-serving motives that could cause are emotional responses to be misleading• Discipline – Applies to right level of analysis for the situation – Resist manipulation and irrational appeals, and – Avoid snap judgments• Judgment – Recognize the relevance and/or merit of alternative assumptions and perspectives – Recognize the extent and weight of evidenceCritical thinking is the foundation of effective problem solving. No problemsolving methods or tools can overcome errors in critical thinking.3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 6
  • 7. Understanding the brain• Decision making process – Assess the goal value – reward expected as a result of the decision – Calculates the decision value – net outcome – Likelihood the decision will deliver the reward• Role of emotions in decisions – Emotion drives action in the brain – Mood has a significant short-term influence on the areas of the brain that are critical for reasoning, intelligence, and other types of high recognition – Studies have shown that an area of the prefrontal cortex (compares past and present situations) work harder if the person is in the “wrong” mood.Conclusion: Your emotional state impacts your ability to think critically.3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 7
  • 8. Understanding the brain• Creativity process – Eureka moments – recognition of a new association of ideas within the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) – Everyone can experience these moments – Requires • Putting brain on idle so its open to new possibilities (minimize distractions) • Priming the brain with knowledge that can be combined with new material • Being able to make connections • Recognizing the positive emotion generated from the connectionConclusion: Your environment impacts your ability to thinkcritically.3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 8
  • 9. Problem Definition• Apply critical thinking to the basic problem statement. – “a problem well-stated is a problem half-solved” – John Dewey – Suspend biases and judgment when defining the problem – Don’t let personal motives impact how the problem is defined – Be willing to redefine the problem as you go to the next stages• Apply the principles of goal-stating to problem-solving – Specific and Relevant – Solvable (measurable and achievable)3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 9
  • 10. Criteria 1: Specific and Relevant• How can the company improve security?• How can the company prevent employees from transmitting personally identifiable information from mobile computing devices?Discussion• Which question are you more likely to be able to brainstorm constructively?• What challenges are you likely to encounter in developing this specific of a problem statement?3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 10
  • 11. Criteria 2: SolvablePoor problem definition• Group 1: Where is the next natural disaster likely to strike?• Group 2: When will consumer spending return to pre- recession levels?• Group 3: What new, game-changing technology is likely to hit the market next year?• Group 4: Where is the next supply chain failure likely to occur?How would you revise these questions into solvable problemstatements?3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 11
  • 12. Problem Statement Pitfalls• Confusing symptoms with problems• Focusing more effort on defining the recommendation than specifying the right problem• Jumping too conclusions• Not understanding the context in which the problem is occurring – Internal environment – External environment (e.g., industry trends, competitive pressures) – Process design and operational constraints – Constraints on the solutions (recommendations) that may have to be part of the problem statement (e.g., cost reduction goal that must be met).• Not questioning assumptions3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 12
  • 13. Identifying the Problem(s)• Common techniques – Interviews – Process analysis – Brainstorming (associative thinking)• Criteria for success – Multiple perspectives3/26/2012 Proprietary and Confidential Page 13