The availability heuristic allows us to make decisions quickly and solve problems based on our past experiences and the information we have learned and stored in our memory banks for quick access.
Attribution bias can often lead to faulty decision making because it fundamentally miscategorizes the cause of an action, which then leads us to make decisions based on that incorrect assumption.
Confirmation bias affects decision-making of all kinds, from whom you choose to vote for to what you pick to eat off the menu at a restaurant. But what exactly is it? Where does it come from? And what can be done to lessen its influence?
For 18 years I have worked with some of the youngest learners — emerging readers. In just my second year as a teacher I was assigned the inclusion 2nd-grade classroom, working with children who are 7-years old and have learning differences. It pushed me to find new ways to help them embrace critical thinking.
For social psychologist Irving Janis, Pearl Harbor was a perfect example of what he called “groupthink” in a 1971 article in Psychology Today. For Janis, groupthink was at the heart of some of the worst disasters and poorest decisions in world history, including Pearl Harbor. Today groupthink continues to help explain many large-scale blunders and problems, from the 2008 financial crisis to social media pile-on.
The internet offers a wealth of resources for learning and social connection. But it also can expose impressionable young people to false information that can undercut their education. To be successful learners, kids and teens need to be savvy critical thinkers.
Adults can do a lot to help kids and teens become critical thinkers, and many underestimate how much reasoning their children can do at a young age.
The term “critical thinking” is used a lot: by educators, politicians, journalists, and the general public. But when it comes down to saying exactly what critical thinking actually is — and is not — there is vagueness and confusion.
Although it’s complicated and multi-faceted, critical thinking can be defined. As cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes, the activities of critical thinking can be divided into three areas: reasoning, making judgments, and problem-solving. Critical thinking means becoming skilled in all three areas. It means, in brief, thinking well.
Since the 2016 election, there has been a great deal of talk about fake news, or misinformation, and the impact it continues to have on elections and public discourse around the world. The Reboot Foundation recently released a report on this topic, outlining the nature of the misinformation crisis and offering several suggestions for addressing it.
Emotions can be one of the most serious barriers to critical thinking. When people are engaged in emotional reasoning, they get easily seduced by weak logic, engage in ad hominem attacks, or plainly ignore evidence contrary to their point of view.
Lately, there’s been ample evidence of this kind of emotional reasoning online, including people at the top of their professions in politics, business, and elsewhere.