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What is critical thinking and how to develop it: psychologist’s advice and 4 exercises

Date: June 19, 2024 Time: 19:05:08

psychologist of the online platform Gran.RF

“A key skill like the ability to see the situation objectively helps us make informed decisions and understand the information that we face every day in large quantities. Developing critical thinking takes practice and exercise. This can take more than one day. However, the result will be useful in many areas of life: from work to personal relationships.

What is critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information, assess its validity, and make informed decisions. This is an important skill that helps us reason logically, evaluate arguments, and look for relationships between facts.

In simple terms, critical thinking is a person’s ability to ask themselves: “Am I really objective now? I might be wrong? Why did I decide that? Self-criticism is the ability to question one’s own conviction each time, allowing one to think about a possible mistake and the willingness to face the opposite image of the world.

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It turns out that we are talking about the process of active, conscious and systematic analysis of information. It includes the ability to ask questions, question, understand evidence, evaluate ideas, and draw sound conclusions. This ability helps us distinguish between objective facts and subjective opinions, distinguish between sound arguments and meaningless emotional statements, and resist manipulation.

Why is critical thinking necessary?

This ability is important when dealing with potentially misleading information. If there is a possibility that you are being lied to or if the source cannot be considered reliable. For example, without critical thinking it is impossible to work as a researcher, judge, doctor, businessman.

In general, this option is useful for any person, because it is the one that allows you to catch manipulation in time and not fall into the hands of scammers, suspect that something was wrong in the news you read, keep your sanity and act rationally in a situation. stressful.

The better this ability is developed, the more clearly we see reality. Yes, for a person one hundred percent objectivity is perhaps inaccessible. He sees the world through his own perception, which means that everything is always a bit distorted. But, if we try to think critically, then our internal picture of the world is as close to reality as possible.

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Today, critical thinking is what we need more than ever. We live in an era of an incredible amount of information around: huge databases, the vastness of the Internet, countless opinions. Access to all of this is not restricted or regulated in any way.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to filter such volumes of information, verify its reliability, and verify the honesty and objectivity of the authors. And the burden of responsibility for the “believe/not believe” decision falls on the reader or listener.

There is no guarantee of truth, which means that every time I have to decide on my own: do I trust this source of information, who and for what purpose presents it, can it be distorted, is there evidence and justification for this point of view? view?

Without a skill like critical thinking, it’s easy these days to become the victim of a cognitive attack. You just need to read the news on the Internet or listen to it on TV.

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How to develop critical thinking?

1. Ask questions. One of the key components of critical thinking is the ability to ask questions and seek additional information. Instead of accepting everything that is said or written, take an interest in:

What proof do you have? Where did you get this information? What alternative points of view are there? To whom and how can it be beneficial? What was the author intending when he brought me this news?

The answers to these questions will help you gain a better understanding of the situation and form your own opinion about the problem.

2. Learn what logical thinking is. It is the process of analyzing and evaluating arguments. Exploring the basic principles of logical thinking, such as deduction, induction, and abduction, will help you become a “more critical thinker.”

The search for logic will help you understand how arguments are built and how to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Usually, people simply do not see contradictions in the information received, they quickly forget everything and sometimes cannot appreciate the whole picture. But, if you understand, for example, what mutually exclusive theses are, then a lot immediately becomes clear.

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3. Practice data analysis. Try to think about the information you receive. Read news from different sources, compare points of view and assess credibility.

Participation in discussions and debates also helps develop critical thinking skills. So you will be forced to argue your points of view. The best way is to systematically study the opposite point of view. Surrounding yourself exclusively with like-minded people and blocking the flow of any other data is a utopian idea.

4. Apply critical thinking at work and in your personal life. This ability is useful in many areas. When working on projects or making a decision, ask yourself questions, weigh the possible risks and benefits.

Then you will be more creative and efficient, then you will notice the contradictions and eliminate them, and this is a competitive advantage.

In personal life, it helps to make informed decisions and avoid being influenced by manipulation or myths. Does the couple change, what is the problem in the relationship, are we suitable for each other, according to what scenario the relationship develops, for what reason quarrels occur? All these questions can be answered constructively only with the help of critical thinking.

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Exercises for the development of critical thinking.

To hone this skill, there are special techniques. It is best to use them in game form. What options should be considered?

1. The game “I never”

Made in a group of three people. You can play with friends or family. The participants write on the sheets an action that they would never do. For example, “I will never kill a person / I will never go to work at McDonald’s.”

Then they collect all the papers. Take turns choosing one of the sheets. The next three minutes explain why they have to do this. Therefore it is good and correct. Let’s just say “I’ll never skydive” fell. The task is to show that it is good. Arguments: tempers the spirit, forms memories, raises self-esteem, helps to survive stress, etc.

2. The “I think it’s okay” game

This game is similar to the previous one, only with the opposite meaning. The goal is to write on the pieces of paper what you think is correct and definitely good. It can be: calling parents often, walking with children, donating money to charity, planting trees, playing sports.

The player needs three minutes to prove to the audience that this “good” can actually be harmful. For example, giving alms can be bad because a person can turn out to be a fraud or buy something that destroys health with the funds received.

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3. Logic games, puzzles

The ideal option is board games in company. Something from the “Mafia” category. Such entertainment strengthens the ability to assess the current situation and verify the information received. Since the point here is to “get into confidence” and not be fooled.

The main thing is to participate in debates and discussions on topics that interest you, where you will be forced to analyze and argue your points of view.

4. Develop the habit of fact checking

If you watched or read the news, which contains statistical information, do not be lazy, look for this information yourself. By whom and where was this analysis carried out? Where are the numbers taken from? Any scientific information should be freely available with links attached to articles and publications. If not, what are the author’s conclusions based on?

In this sense, critical thinking is magnificently developed among those who dedicate themselves to science. This field of activity involves independent research and careful handling of numbers. Everything must be justified. But of course, to master this kind of thinking, one does not have to become a scientist. All you need is your will and practice.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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