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Critical thinking is the ability expressed by the human being to analyze and evaluate the existing information on a specific topic, trying to clarify the truth of this information and reach a justified idea in this regard, ignoring possible external biases.

We apply critical thinking to try to discern the reality of what we are told and perceive from the analysis of the reasoning used to explain it. In a way analogous to what Descartes proposed, it is about doubting the absolute information, dogmas, and axioms that surround us until we can give them truthfulness or otherwise ignore them. With this, we seek to have a justified idea of reality and not blindly accept what others tell us.

This type of thinking, linked to skepticism, helps human beings to create their own identity, appearing throughout development and being especially visible in adolescence and from it. It is not about taking the opposite to the world, but about being able to elaborate our own point of view based on the verification and comparison of data. What is intended with critical thinking is to eliminate fallacies and biases that compromise the objectivity of the researched data.

Critical thinking is closely related to other abilities such as creativity, logic or intuition, allowing us to develop new strategies and ways of seeing and perceiving things. Having good critical thinking skills helps us to avoid conformism and to advance as human beings, avoiding that there is only one way of seeing the world.

Critical thinking is a capacity of great utility and today much sought by society, both at work and in other aspects of life. Therefore it is of great interest to be able to enhance it. To this end, we have various activities and habits that can be useful.

Firstable, try to keep an open mind. We all have our opinions about what surrounds us. However, to think critically it is necessary to bear in mind that ours or the explanation that society offers may not be the only or the most accurate. It is more complicated than it seems, but we must allow in our minds the acceptance of other positions, however different they may be from our own.

Try to train empathy. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of others makes it easier to understand how they have come to the conclusions they have reached. Some activity that can facilitate empathy is the performance of role-playing, theater, or the expression and communication of emotions and thoughts to others.

Actively participate in debates. The best way to increase competence in a capacity is to exercise it. For this reason, participation in forums and debates is very useful, as they confront in them the opinions, beliefs, and data found by different people.

Analyze texts and videos. The analysis of different materials can help improve critical thinking skills. It is especially important to observe the possible objectives or the reasons that a person may have to create such material. It can be started with simple material and clearly based on subjective elements, such as opinion columns or advertising elements. Later we can move forward incorporating more technical and apparently objective material.

Avoid bandwagon and underdog effects. Many people join an opinion because it is either supported by the majority or ignored by it. It is necessary that our thinking is not influenced by the fact that others pay more or less attention to the factor information in question.

Question stereotypes. Society constantly generates stereotypes regarding a large number of topics. Try to choose one of them and look for information that puts it in question to see to what extent it serves to explain reality.

Find and compare contradictory elements. It is easy to find publications on controversial topics about which there is no clear general opinion or absolutely certain. Finding two opinions confronted and analyzing each of them allows us to observe what weak points these arguments have, helping to be able to analyze other future information.

Investigate and prepare yourself. In order to discuss something, it is necessary to know what we are talking about. Being informed about what is happening in the world will allow us to put in perspective the information we receive from abroad, including the medium through which we have informed.

Learn to separate information from what it causes you. Emotions help us to give an internal meaning to what happens to us and we live. However, in many cases they cause us to behave or think in a certain way only based on these sensations. This can lead us to consider what makes us feel like the only truth.

And lastly, try to pay attention to your intuition. Despite what has been said in the inner point, sometimes our mind acts in a concrete way that we can not explain rationally. Intuition is sometimes conceptualized as the result of the unconscious processing of information, that is, as the performance of an internal analysis of information that we have not processed at a conscious level. However, keep in mind that this intuition can also be biased.

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Popular Questions About Critical Thinking

What are the pros and cons of critical thinking?
The Advantages & Disadvantages of Critical Thinking Academic Success. Memorizing what your teacher tells you and regurgitating it verbatim will only get you so far in school. Professional Success. Critical thinking skills will make you more effective in whatever field you choose to go into. Empathy. Critical thinking skills can help you get along with a wider range of people. Disadvantages.
What are the six elements of critical thinking?
Critical thinking is the ability to be in control of one’s thinking. It includes the ability to consciously examine the elements of one’s reasoning, or that of another, and evaluate that reasoning against universal intellectual standards - clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, and logic.
What is critical thinking, and what are its elements?
Critical thinking can be seen as having two components: 1) a set of information and belief generating and processing skills , and 2) the habit , based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behavior.
What exactly is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is any form of thinking where you can demonstrate and justify how you came to your conclusion. You can “show your work” as they told you to do in math class. It’s methodological, vs intuitive. It’s literally the opposite of common sense, which is intuitive.