Introduction to Critical Thinking
Dr Fariza Hanis Abdul Razak
• By the end of the lecture, you will be able to:
– Explain the meaning of critical thinking
– Describe the process of critical thinking
– Apply brainstorming techniques to thinking
– Describe the characteristics of a critical thinker
– Highlight the importance of critical thinking for a
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• Many Eyes
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• Imagine that you live in a world that has only
20 words. What are those words?
– You can only use these words to express yourself.
– You can repeatedly use these words, but not other
words that you did not suggest earlier.
Exercise 3 - Tour Guide for an Alien
• Pretend that you have been assigned the task
of conducting a tour for aliens who are visiting
earth and observing human life. You're riding
along in a blimp, and you float over a football
stadium. One of your aliens looks down and
becomes very confused, so you tell him that
there is a game going on.
Try to answer these questions:
1. What is a game?
2. Why are there no female players?
3. Why do people get so passionate watching
other people play games?
4. What is a team?
5. Why can't the people in the seats just go
down on the field and join in?
What is Critical Thinking?
• Thinking and judging for yourself
• You will learn to evaluate information that you
hear and process information that you collect
honestly and without the assumptions that we
• You will analyze the evidence that is presented
to you in order to make sure it is sound.
Skill #1: Interpretation
• What it Means: Having the ability to
understand the information you are being
presented with and being able to
communicate the meaning of that information
Exercise Skill #1
• Write down 10 emotions you feel can be paired with
facial expressions, e.g. smiling equals happiness.
• Then give your list to a friend and ask them to
randomly recreate each facial expression as you
attempt to interpret the correct emotion simply by
looking at their face.
• How many can you correctly identify?
• The answers:
Skill #2: Analysis
What it Means: Having the ability to connect
pieces of information together in order to
determine what the intended meaning of the
information was meant to represent.
Exercise Skill #2
• Try to determine the meaning behind this
Malay Proverb: “Harapkan pagar, pagar makan
Skill #3: Inference
• What it Means: Having the ability to
understand and recognize what elements you
will need in order to determine an accurate
conclusion or hypothesis from the information
you have at your disposal.
Exercise Skill #3
• Try watching an episode of a weekly crime
show. Focus on absorbing the clues in an
effort to determine the mystery of who
completed the crime during the episode.
Skill #4: Evaluation
• What it Means: Being able to evaluate the
credibility of statements or descriptions of a
person’s experience, judgment or opinion in
order to measure the validity of the
information being presented.
Skill #5: Explanation
• What it Means: Having the ability to not only
restate information, but add clarity and
perspective to the information, so it can be
fully understood by anyone you are sharing it
Exercise Skill #5
• Explain what is IT to:
– A 4 year-old kid
– A 70 year-old grandma
Skill #6: Self-Regulation
• What it Means: Having the awareness of your
own thinking abilities and the elements that
you are using to find results.
• It’s important to be able to separate your own
personal biases or self-interests when making
decisions at work.
Exercise Skill #6
• List 5 reasons why you deserve to get an A+
for this course.
• After you complete your reasons, read
through each and focus on identifying your
own potential biases that may impact your
CTS - Clarity
• Could you elaborate further on that point?
• Could you express that point in another way?
• Could you give me an illustration?
• Could you give me an example?
CTS – Accuracy
• Is that really true?
• How could we check that?
• How could we find out if that is true?
CTS – Precision
• Could you give more details?
• Could you be more specific?
CTS – Relevance
• How is that connected to the question?
• How does that bear on the issue?
CTS – Depth
• How does your answer address the complexities in the question?
• How are you taking into account the problems in the question?
• Is that dealing with the most significant factors?
CTS – Breadth
• Do we need to consider another point of view?
• Is there another way to look at this question?
• What would this look like from a conservative
• What would this look like from the point of view of...?
CTS – Logic
• Does this really make sense?
• Does that follow from what you said?
• How does that follow?
• But before you implied this and now you are
saying that; how can both be true?
CTS – Fairness
Critical thinking demands that our thinking be fair.
• Free of distorting biases and preconceptions
Some Barriers to Critical Thinking
• Lack of relevant
• Poor reading skills
• Poor listening skills
• Peer pressure
• Distrust of reason
• Relativistic thinking
• Wishful thinking
• Short-term thinking
• Selective perception
• Selective memory
• Fear of change
Why is critical thinking important to
Benefits of Critical Thinking
• Academic Performance
– understand the arguments and beliefs of others
– Critically evaluating those arguments and beliefs
– Develop and defend one's own well-supported arguments and beliefs.
– Helps us to reflect and get a deeper understanding of our own and others’
– Encourage open-mindedness to change
– Aid us in being more analytical in solving problems
• Daily life
– Helps us to avoid making foolish personal decisions.
– Promotes an informed and concerned citizenry capable of making good
decisions on important social, political and economic issues.
– Aids in the development of autonomous thinkers capable of examining their
assumptions, dogmas, and prejudices.