Critical Thinking For Psychology

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Most encourage their students to practice critical thinking.

Critical thinking does not neces­sarily mean making criticisms. It means developing intellectual tools to avoid being gullible or easily taken in by false claims or "quack" science (highly questionable or absurd ideas presented as though they are scientific truths).

For every useful docu­mentary about a psychology-related topic, there are hundreds pseudo-documentaries about conspiracies, UFOs, hidden planets threatening the earth, and much more.

Students need critical thinking to separate the wheat from the chaff (separate what is valuable from what is useless). William James wrote in 1876 that "philosophic study means the habit of always seeing an alternative" (James, 1876/1978). What are recurrent themes in discussions of "critical thinking"? At the end of the day, after staying open-minded and generating new ideas, one is left with the problem of This is the specialty of science: gathering and evaluating evidence. When the National Science Foundation in the United States surveyed public attitudes and knowledge about science, they found that 70% of American adults said they were "interested" in science.

Critical thinking has been described in many ways, but researchers generally agree that critical thinking involves rational, purposeful, and goal-directed thinking (see Defining Critical Thinking). Halpern defined critical thinking as an attempt to increase the probability of a desired outcome (e.g., making a sound decision, successfully solving a problem) by using certain cognitive skills and strategies.

Critical Thinking For Psychology Psychology Nature Nurture Essay

Critical thinking is more than just a collection of skills and strategies: it is a disposition toward engaging with problems.

Critical thinking has been described in many ways over the years. Knowledge about this process is a major weak spot in public education in the U. However, fewer than 30% could give a passable definition of a scientific experiment or hypothesis.

Here are some recurrent themes: Avoid jumping to conclu­sions [Suspend judgment; keep an open mind until you have adequate evidence; tolerate uncertainty; avoid oversimpli­fication.] Examine assumptions [Identify premises or starting assump­tions; avoid accepting an idea simply because it appeals to pre-existing biases or assumptions.] Generate new ideas [Experiment with ideas opposite to those normally considered; ask questions; consider other perspectives.] Evaluate evidence [Ask whether an idea generates surprising predictions. See what experts in the field have to say about controversial ideas. Rensberger (2000) wrote: Without a grasp of the scientific ways of thinking, the average person cannot tell the difference between science based on real data and something that resem­bles science–at least in their eyes–but is based on uncontrolled experiments, anec­dotal evidence, and passionate assertions. The claim, for example, that brains can transmit information telepathically, strikes them as no less believable than the claim that whole stars can collapse...

What is reportedly true of psychologists as a group?

The phrase became popular among educators in the 1950s, but in 1998 psychologist Diane Halpern said critical thinking was "more important than ever" for today's students (Halpern, 1998).


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