How To Learn Critical Thinking Skills

With that in mind, you’re likely wondering what you can do to make sure you’re not one of those people.

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Gather information and various opinions you can use to make your own determination. You've got a pile of information, and now it's time to analyze it all with an open mind. It can be pretty difficult to recognize the filters that were instilled in us from our first families. Once you've reached a conclusion through critical thinking, it's time to communicate and implement a solution if one is called for.However, most research on the transfer of skills suggests that the latter definition, critical thinking as a domain-specific ability, is more accurate (1).People’s ability to solve problems and make effective decisions depends on their level of expertise and experience within one area. Even within a single domain critical thinking is a complex, higher-order skill that is hard to learn and even harder to transfer across domains.Does this mean that we can’t teach critical thinking as a domain general skill? An excellent article by van Gelder (2005) summarizes some key lessons from cognitive psychology that can help guide instruction on critical thinking (2). For example, I’m a cognitive psychologist who happens to enjoy science fiction.I have many well formed opinions about the nature of memory and conscious experience and how they are represented in popular media like Westworld, The Matrix, and Ghost in the Shell. However, my ability to think critically about cognitive psychology in these movies/shows does not necessarily mean I can think critically about the cinematography or directing. Or that I can think critically about software or computer programs (outside of turning it off and on again, I’m pretty useless). Or that I can think critically about any number of things outside of my very specific areas of training and experiences. People can therefore be good or bad critical thinkers.Another way of defining critical thinking is as a domain specific skill. This is the time to look at every thought as purely as possible. Critical thinkers are more interested in solutions than in placing blame, complaining, or gossiping. Have you considered the situation from every different point of view?


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