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Why Is Critical Thinking Important? A Survival Guide


Why is critical thinking important? The decisions that you make affect your quality of life. And if you want to ensure that you live your best, most successful and happy life, you’re going to want to make conscious choices. That can be done with a simple thing known as critical thinking. Here’s how to improve your critical thinking skills and make decisions that you won’t regret.

What Is Critical Thinking?

You’ve surely heard of critical thinking, but you might not be entirely sure what it really means, and that’s because there are many definitions. For the most part, however, we think of critical thinking as the process of analyzing facts in order to form a judgment. Basically, it’s thinking about thinking.

How Has The Definition Evolved Over Time?

The first time critical thinking was documented is believed to be in the teachings of Socrates , recorded by Plato. But throughout history, the definition has changed.

Today it is best understood by philosophers and psychologists and it’s believed to be a highly complex concept. Some insightful modern-day critical thinking definitions include :

The Importance Of Critical Thinking

Why is critical thinking important? Good question! Here are a few undeniable reasons why it’s crucial to have these skills.

1. Critical Thinking Is Universal

Critical thinking is a domain-general thinking skill. What does this mean? It means that no matter what path or profession you pursue, these skills will always be relevant and will always be beneficial to your success. They are not specific to any field.

2. Crucial For The Economy

Our future depends on technology, information, and innovation. Critical thinking is needed for our fast-growing economies, to solve problems as quickly and as effectively as possible.

3. Improves Language & Presentation Skills

In order to best express ourselves, we need to know how to think clearly and systematically — meaning practice critical thinking! Critical thinking also means knowing how to break down texts, and in turn, improve our ability to comprehend.

4. Promotes Creativity

By practicing critical thinking, we are allowing ourselves not only to solve problems but also to come up with new and creative ideas to do so. Critical thinking allows us to analyze these ideas and adjust them accordingly.

5. Important For Self-Reflection

Without critical thinking, how can we really live a meaningful life? We need this skill to self-reflect and justify our ways of life and opinions. Critical thinking provides us with the tools to evaluate ourselves in the way that we need to.

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6. the basis of science & democracy.

In order to have a democracy and to prove scientific facts, we need critical thinking in the world. Theories must be backed up with knowledge. In order for a society to effectively function, its citizens need to establish opinions about what’s right and wrong (by using critical thinking!).

Benefits Of Critical Thinking

We know that critical thinking is good for society as a whole, but what are some benefits of critical thinking on an individual level? Why is critical thinking important for us?

1. Key For Career Success

Critical thinking is crucial for many career paths. Not just for scientists, but lawyers , doctors, reporters, engineers , accountants, and analysts (among many others) all have to use critical thinking in their positions.

In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, critical thinking is one of the most desirable skills to have in the workforce, as it helps analyze information, think outside the box, solve problems with innovative solutions, and plan systematically.

2. Better Decision Making

There’s no doubt about it — critical thinkers make the best choices. Critical thinking helps us deal with everyday problems as they come our way, and very often this thought process is even done subconsciously. It helps us think independently and trust our gut feeling.

3. Can Make You Happier!

While this often goes unnoticed, being in touch with yourself and having a deep understanding of why you think the way you think can really make you happier. Critical thinking can help you better understand yourself, and in turn, help you avoid any kind of negative or limiting beliefs, and focus more on your strengths. Being able to share your thoughts can increase your quality of life.

4. Form Well-Informed Opinions

There is no shortage of information coming at us from all angles. And that’s exactly why we need to use our critical thinking skills and decide for ourselves what to believe. Critical thinking allows us to ensure that our opinions are based on the facts, and help us sort through all that extra noise.

5. Better Citizens

One of the most inspiring critical thinking quotes is by former US president Thomas Jefferson: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”

What Jefferson is stressing to us here is that critical thinkers make better citizens, as they are able to see the entire picture without getting sucked into biases and propaganda.

6. Improves Relationships

While you may be convinced that being a critical thinker is bound to cause you problems in relationships, this really couldn’t be less true! Being a critical thinker can allow you to better understand the perspective of others, and can help you become more open-minded towards different views.

7. Promotes Curiosity

Critical thinkers are constantly curious about all kinds of things in life, and tend to have a wide range of interests. Critical thinking means constantly asking questions and wanting to know more, about why, what, who, where, when, and everything else that can help them make sense of a situation or concept, never taking anything at face value.

8. Allows For Creativity

Critical thinkers are also highly creative thinkers, and see themselves as limitless when it comes to possibilities. They are constantly looking to take things further, which is crucial in the workforce.

9. Enhances Problem Solving Skills

Those with critical thinking skills tend to solve problems as part of their natural instinct. Critical thinkers are patient and committed to solving the problem, similar to Albert Einstein, one of the best critical thinking examples, who said “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Critical thinkers’ enhanced problem-solving skills makes them better at their jobs and better at solving the world’s biggest problems. Like Einstein, they have the potential to literally change the world.

10. An Activity For The Mind

Just like our muscles, in order for them to be strong, our mind also needs to be exercised and challenged. It’s safe to say that critical thinking is almost like an activity for the mind — and it needs to be practiced. Critical thinking encourages the development of many crucial skills such as logical thinking, decision making, and open-mindness.

11. Creates Independence

When we think critically, we think on our own as we trust ourselves more. Critical thinking is key to creating independence, and encouraging students to make their own decisions and form their own opinions.

12. Crucial Life Skill

Critical thinking is crucial not just for learning, but for life overall! Education isn’t just a way to prepare ourselves for life, but it’s pretty much life itself. Learning is a lifelong process that we go through each and every day.

How to Think Critically

Now that you know the benefits of thinking critically, how do you actually do it?

How To Improve Your Critical Thinking

How Is Critical Thinking Developed At School?

Critical thinking is developed in nearly everything we do. However, much of this important skill is encouraged to be practiced at school, and rightfully so! Critical thinking goes beyond just thinking clearly — it’s also about thinking for yourself.

When a teacher asks a question in class, students are given the chance to answer for themselves and think critically about what they learned and what they believe to be accurate. When students work in groups and are forced to engage in discussion, this is also a great chance to expand their thinking and use their critical thinking skills.

How Does Critical Thinking Apply To Your Career?

Once you’ve finished school and entered the workforce, your critical thinking journey only expands and grows from here!

Impress Your Employer

Employers value employees who are critical thinkers, ask questions, offer creative ideas, and are always ready to offer innovation against the competition. No matter what your position or role in a company may be, critical thinking will always give you the power to stand out and make a difference.

Careers That Require Critical Thinking

Some of many examples of careers that require critical thinking include:

Truth be told however, it’s probably harder to come up with a professional field that doesn’t require any critical thinking!

Photo by  Oladimeji Ajegbile  from  Pexels

What is someone with critical thinking skills capable of doing.

Someone with critical thinking skills is able to think rationally and clearly about what they should or not believe. They are capable of engaging in their own thoughts, and doing some reflection in order to come to a well-informed conclusion.

A critical thinker understands the connections between ideas, and is able to construct arguments based on facts, as well as find mistakes in reasoning.

The Process Of Critical Thinking

The process of critical thinking is highly systematic.

What Are Your Goals?

Critical thinking starts by defining your goals, and knowing what you are ultimately trying to achieve.

Once you know what you are trying to conclude, you can foresee your solution to the problem and play it out in your head from all perspectives.

What Does The Future Of Critical Thinking Hold?

The future of critical thinking is the equivalent of the future of jobs. In 2020, critical thinking was ranked as the 2nd top skill (following complex problem solving) by the World Economic Forum .

We are dealing with constant unprecedented changes, and what success is today, might not be considered success tomorrow — making critical thinking a key skill for the future workforce.

Why Is Critical Thinking So Important?

Why is critical thinking important? Critical thinking is more than just important! It’s one of the most crucial cognitive skills one can develop.

By practicing well-thought-out thinking, both your thoughts and decisions can make a positive change in your life, on both a professional and personal level. You can hugely improve your life by working on your critical thinking skills as often as you can.

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“Having advanced Critical Thinking skills leads to better interpersonal, business, and financial outcomes and is a protective factor against negative outcomes.” – Butler et al. (2012)
“Critical Thinking prevents individuals from being susceptible to manipulation. Moreover, critical thinking allows people to solve problems more creatively, independently, and effectively.” – Stenberg & Halpern, 2020

The Science

“92% of business leaders believe that the most significant skill a person needs to have in order to be successful both at work and academically is Critical Thinking.” – Educational Testing Service (2013)

Critical Thinking at work

““Critical Thinking” surpassed “innovation” as the highest ranked skill set needed in the workplace for the new century.” – Casner-Lotto, Jill. (2006)

Learning Critical Thinking will improve quality of life

“After Critical Thinking training, individuals provided better arguments, identified more cause-effect relationships, made better decisions, and considered more observations. (SMEs; e.g., Cohen et al., 1998)” – Cohen at al. (1998)
“Critical Thinking helps students develop competencies that will serve them throughout their professional lives” – Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, and Jones. (2000)

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The Wide World of Science

Critical thinking in modern society, object(wp_term)#7750 (10) { ["term_id"]=> int(778) ["name"]=> string(10) "jamie hale" ["slug"]=> string(10) "jamie-hale" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(778) ["taxonomy"]=> string(7) "authors" ["description"]=> string(529) "jamie hale is a college instructor, and he is associated with eastern kentucky university's cognitive neuroscience lab and perception & cognition lab. he has published articles and books on a wide range of topics. jamie is the director of www.knowledgesummit.net and author of in evidence we trust: the need for science, rationality and statistics. his future articles will address models for improved scientific thinking, popular myths, and rationality in terms of cognitive science." ["parent"]=> int(0) ["count"]=> int(5) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } --> jamie hale.

why is critical thinking important to society

Critical thinking is important; most people agree with that statement. Research in cognitive science conceptualizes and measures (that is, operationalizes) critical thinking. There are myriad studies examining components of critical thinking (Stanovich, West, and Toplak 2016).

Educators often pay lip service to the idea of teaching “critical thinking.” But, when asked to define critical thinking , answers are often weak and ambiguous. Common responses to the defining critical thinking include: “teaching them how to think,” “teaching them formal logic,” “teaching them to be thinkers,” “teaching them how to think for themselves,” or “teaching them how to solve problems.” They already know how to think ; logic is only a portion of what is needed to increase critical thinking, independent thinking doesn’t necessarily imply critical thinking and teaching them how to solve problems are hard to measure assertions.

Stanovich argues “that the super-ordinate goal we are actually trying to foster is that of rationality” (Stanovich 2010, 198). Educators are concerned with critical thinking as it reflects rational thought, in both the epistemic sense and the practical, instrumental sense.Certain thinking dispositions and cognitive abilities are valued because they help us base our beliefs on available evidence and assist us in achieving our goals. Educators, science writers, and evidence based practitioners express to students, administrators, readers, clients, and patients the importance of critical thinking. Yet many of those expressing the importance of critical thinking don’t have a firm grip on rationality or critical thinking, or what it includes. Promoting critical thinking is important; promoting critical thinking through the lenses of cognitive science presents a clearer picture of exactly what critical thinking advocates are trying to promote. A key characteristic of science is precision, and critical thinking includes scientific thinking. A scientific concept is one derived from converging evidence; critical thinking demonstrates that type of convergence (evidence from various theoretical underpinnings and research). Critical thinking is a concept-complex (it involves various concepts, connections, and interactions). To reiterate, critical thinking is synonymous with rationality in the context of cognitive science.


Rational thinking is not synonymous with rationalizing thought . These phrases are often mistakenly used interchangeably. Rationalizing thought has an Aristotelian flavor, in that it involves putting forth reason for essentially any behavior or thought. Rationality is a weak concept, when conceptualized in this sense. Most people are rational, if rational means an ability to provide some form of a reason for their behavior or actions. Cognitive science provides a different conceptualization of rationality—one that is consistent and subject to testing.

Rationality is concerned with what is true and what to do (Manktelow 2004). In order for beliefs to be rational they must be in agreement with evidence. In order for actions to be rational they must maximize potential in attaining goals. I suspect everyone agrees that both of these requirements are important. Cognitive scientists generally identify two types of rationality: instrumental and epistemic (Stanovich 2009) . Instrumental rationality can be defined as adopting appropriate goals, and behaving in a manner that optimizes one’s ability to achieve goals. Epistemic rationality is defined as holding beliefs that are commensurate with available evidence. This type of rationality is concerned with how well our beliefs map onto the structure of the world. Epistemic rationality is sometimes called evidential rationality or theoretical rationality. Instrumental and epistemic rationality are related; there is overlap.In order to optimize rationality one needs adequate knowledge in the domains of logic, scientific thinking, and probabilistic thinking. It is also essential that reflective processing (overriding fast thinking that leads to incorrect responses) occur at appropriate times. A wide variety of cognitive skills (cognitive style / thinking dispositions and cognitive ability) fall within these domains of knowledge. 

Components of critical thinking have been operationalized in a wide range of studies. In a 2012 study (Hale 2012), I presented students with questions derived from critical thinking tests. The critical thinking tasks were cover tasks; the primary concern of the study was expectation and food liking. In regards to the critical thinking tasks (three questions) the performances were not good. No one correctly answered all three of the problems, and many participants missed all three. Total percentage of correct answers was 19 percent. The tasks used were similar to the ones often used by Stanovich, Kahneman, and Frederick (Stanovich 2009; Kahneman 2011; Frederick 2005). The questions used on the test are presented here: Confused About Critical Thinking , https://jamiehalesblog.blogspot.com/2015/12/confused-about-critical-thinking.html.

In 2016, a prototype for a comprehensive assessment of rationality was made public: CART (Comprehensive Assessment of Rational Thinking). The assessment was constructed by the Stanovich, West, and Toplak Research Lab. CART assesses epistemic and instrumental rationality. The assessment involves twenty subtests. Stanovich discussing the importance of a comprehensive assessment of rationality (Interview with Stanovich, Hale 2016):

“Why does society need a comprehensive assessment of rational thinking? To be globally rational in our modern society you must have the behavioral tendencies and knowledge bases that are assessed on the CART to a sufficient degree.Our society is sometimes benign, and maximal rationality is not always necessary, but sometimes—in important situations—our society is hostile. In such hostile situations, to achieve adequate degrees of instrumental rationality in our present society the skills assessed by the CART are essential.In Chapter 15 of The Rationality Quotient we include a table showing that rational thinking tendencies are linked to real-life decision making.In that table, for each of the paradigms and subtests of the CART, an association with a real-life outcome is indicated.The associations are of two types.Some studies represent investigations where a laboratory measure of a bias was used as a predictor of a real-world outcome. Others are reports of real-world analogues of biases that were originally discovered in the lab. Clearly more work remains to be done on tracing the exact nature of the connections—that is, whether they are causal. The sheer number of real-world connections, however, serves to highlight the importance of the rational thinking skills in our framework. Now that we have the CART, we could in theory begin to assess rationality as systematically as we do IQ.If not for professional inertia and psychologists’ investment in the IQ concept, we could choose tomorrow to more formally assess rational thinking skills, focus more on teaching them, and redesign our environment so that irrational thinking is not so costly.  Whereas just thirty years ago we knew vastly more about intelligence than we knew about rational thinking, this imbalance has been redressed in the last few decades because of some remarkable work in behavioral decision theory, cognitive science, and related areas of psychology. In the past two decades cognitive scientists have developed laboratory tasks and real-life performance indicators to measure rational thinking tendencies such as sensible goal prioritization, reflectivity, and the proper calibration of evidence. People have been found to differ from each other on these indicators. These indicators are structured differently from the items used on intelligence tests. We have brought this work together by producing here the first comprehensive assessment measure for rational thinking, the CART.”

In order for educators to successfully teach critical thinking / rational thinking it is imperative that they understand what critical thinking actually is and why it matters. Questions that should be asked: What are the goals of critical thinking? How can critical thinking be tested? Does my curriculum contain information regarding scientific reasoning, logic, heuristic processing, and probabilistic thinking? 

Critical thinking is about what is true (epistemic rationality) and what to do (instrumental rationality).I recommend reading the works of Keith Stanovich, Daniel Kahneman, Richard West, Shane Frederick, and Jonathan Baron to name a few, in an effort to enhance critical thinking.

Rationality vs. Intelligence

Note that developing measures of rationality are a result of a plethora of research showing that intelligence and rationality are different concepts and are often weakly associated. Good thinking requires more than intelligence. Intelligence is important, but so is rationality (Stanovich 2009). Intelligence reflects reasoning abilities across a wide variety of domains (particularly novel ones) and processing speed. In addition, intelligence reflects general declarative knowledge acquired through acculturated learning. The type of cognitive skills required for rationality are not measured by intelligence tests and their proxies (GRE, SAT, standard IQ tests, etc.).

Society is complex, and requires complex thinking. Critical thinking is learnable; being a better critical thinker will assist humans in navigating the world much better, that is much better in the sense of making better judgments and better decisions, being more rational.

Jamie Hale is a college instructor, and he is associated with Eastern Kentucky University's Cognitive Neuroscience Lab and Perception & Cognition Lab. He has published articles and books on a wide range of topics. Jamie is the director of www.knowledgesummit.net and author of In Evidence We Trust: The need for science, rationality and statistics. His future articles will address models for improved scientific thinking, popular myths, and rationality in terms of cognitive science.

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Why Critical Thinking Is Important for Everyone

The Rationality of Science

Critical thinking is an important subject in education, and educators stress the importance of teaching critical thinking beginning at an early age. College professors often dedicate a fair amount of time and effort to developing and implementing lesson plans to make students better critical thinkers. But what does it mean to be a critical thinker? 

When educators are asked to define critical thinking , their answers are often ambiguous. Common responses include: “teaching them how to think,” “teaching them formal logic,” “teaching them to be thinkers,” “teaching them how to think for themselves,” or “teaching them how to solve problems.” These explanations are problematic. Logic is only a portion of what is needed to increase critical thinking; independent thinking doesn’t necessarily imply critical thinking; and teaching people how to solve problems does not bring us any closer to a consistent conceptualization of critical thinking (Stanovich and Stanovich 2010). I have done informal surveys asking people to define critical thinking in bookstores, libraries, and public parks. The answers were similar to those given by educators with little consensus.

K. Stanovich, cognitive scientist and author of The Rationality Quotient: Toward a Test of Rational Thinking , argues that the goal of critical thinking is rationality (Stanovich et al. 2016). Rationality, as defined in modern cognitive science, is concerned with what is true and what to do (Manktelow 2004). For beliefs to be rational, they must be evidence based; for actions to be rational, they need to maximize our chances of attaining goals. Educators are interested in critical thinking insofar as it reflects rational thought. Certain thinking dispositions and cognitive abilities help us form beliefs based on evidence and assist us in achieving our goals. Educators, science writers, and evidence-based practitioners emphasize the importance of critical thinking but don’t conceptualize it or what it includes as a consistent, measurable skill. Promoting critical thinking through the lense of cognitive science allows for a more objective and consistent view of a complex concept that can be studied and measured.

Society as a whole hasn’t weighed the consequences of low levels of critical thinking and how this is a real social problem. An inability to think critically may lead to myriad problems, including physicians choosing less effective medical treatments, people failing to accurately assess risks in their environment, information being misused in legal proceedings, and millions of dollars being spent on unneeded projects by government and private industry. Other consequences of poor critical thinking (irrationality) include parents failing to vaccinate their children, unnecessary surgeries, animals hunted to extinction, billions of dollars spent on quack medical treatments, and so on. Even if we ourselves develop critical thinking skills, the lack of critical thinking of others may impact us. 

Consider the spread of pseudoscientific beliefs and their overall impact. For example, jurors have confessed to making their verdicts based on astrology, and major banks and Fortune 500 companies report using graphologists in their hiring practices even though a plethora of evidence indicates that graphology is useless for the purpose. Pseudosciences, such as astrology, are large industries, involving newspaper columns, radio shows, book publishing, the internet, and magazine articles. The House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging has estimated that the amount of money wasted on medical quackery nationally reaches into the billions. Physicians are concerned about the spread of medical quackery on the internet and its impact on health. 

Tools for Critical Thinking

With the right strategies, critical thinking can be improved. A key characteristic of better critical thinking is an ability to apply scientific thinking strategies in a variety of circumstances. Scientific thinking includes knowledge in the areas of philosophy of science, research methodology, logic, and probabilistic/statistical reasoning. In one study, when using an analytical reading method derived from the “Learning Paradigm,” students showed strong improvements in their ability to evaluate primary scientific research (Jones and Hale 2019). This method focuses the attention on learning outcomes using many different types of teaching: lecture, discussion, reading, and writing. It allows students to study the material directly and interact with both their classmates and the instructor.

Fully disjunctive reasoning—the tendency to consider all possible states of the world when deciding among options or when choosing a solution in a reasoning task—is one critical thinking strategy (Reyna and Farley 2006). Teaching considering alternative hypotheses is another strategy that promotes critical thinking. When teaching students to think about alternative hypotheses, a simple instruction of “think of the opposite” is given. Studies have demonstrated this strategy can help prevent various thinking errors (Sanna and Schwartz 2006), while probabilistic thinking (thinking in terms of likelihoods and possible outcomes) is very useful but more difficult to teach. Causal reasoning, which involves establishing criteria needed to determine cause and effect and considering multiple causes and their interactions, is also important. In terms of teaching causal reasoning, it is important to stress there will be variations in outcomes even when using similar strategies in studies or when people engage in the same activities; it is important to appreciate uncertainty (Kahneman et al. 2021). 

To successfully teach critical thinking, educators must understand what critical thinking actually is and why it matters. It is possible for most people to learn critical thinking. Being a better critical thinker will assist us in making better judgments and better decisions. We live in world where information on almost anything is easy to find; however, to distinguish fact from fiction, reality from wishful thinking, and science from pseudoscience, critical thinking is essential.

Jones, N., and J. Hale. 2019. Analytical reading: Primary scientific literature. Kentucky Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance  56(2): 8–15.

Kahneman, D., et al. 2021. Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment . New York, NY: Little, Brown Spark.  

Manktelow, K.I. 2004. Reasoning and rationality: The pure and the practical. In K.I. Manktelow and M.C. Chung (eds.), Psychology of Reasoning: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives . Hove, England: Psychology Press, 157–177.

Reyna, V.F., and F. Farley. 2006. Risk and rationality in adolescent decision making.   Psychological Science in the Public Interest  7: 1–44.

Sanna, L., and N. Schwartz. 2006. Metacognitive experiences and human judgment: The case of hindsight bias and its debiasing.  Current Directions in Psychological   Science  15: 172–176.

Stanovich, K., R. West, and M. Toplak. 2016. The Rationality Quotient: Toward a Test of Rational Thinking . Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Stanovich, K.E., and P.J. Stanovich. 2010. A framework for critical thinking, rational thinking, and intelligence. In D. Preiss and R.J. Sternberg (eds.), Innovations in Educational Psychology: Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Human Development . New York, NY: Springer, 195–237.    

Study Guides

Critical thinking underlies reading, writing, speaking, and listening. These are the 4 basic elements of communication. Critical thinking also plays an important part in social change. Consider that the institutions in any society - courts, governments, schools, businesses - are the products of a certain way of thinking.

Any organization draws its life from certain assumptions about the way things should be done. Before the institution can change, those assumptions need to be loosened up or reinvented.

Critical thinking also helps us uncover bias and prejudice. This is a first step toward communicating with people of other races and cultures.

Critical thinking is a path to freedom from half-truths and deception. You have the right to question what you see, hear, and read. Acquiring this ability is one of the major goals of a liberal education.

Skilled students are thorough thinkers. They distinguish between opinion and fact. They ask powerful questions. They make detailed observations. They uncover assumptions and define their terms. They make assertions carefully, basing them on sound logic and solid evidence. Almost everything that we call knowledge is a result of these activities. This means that critical thinking and learning are intimately linked.

Practice your right to question!

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Why Critical Thinking Is Important (& How to Improve It)

Last updated December 4, 2021. Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC . Written by Deane Alban .

By improving the quality of your thoughts and your decisions, better critical thinking skills can bring about a big positive change in your life. Learn how.

The quality of your life largely depends on the quality of the decisions you make.

Amazingly, the average person makes 35,000 conscious decisions every day! 

Imagine how much better your life would be if there were a way to make the best possible decisions, day in and day out?

Well, there is and it’s called critical thinking .

Learning to master the skill of critical thinking can have a profoundly positive impact on nearly every aspect of your life.

What Exactly Is Critical Thinking?

The first documented account of critical thinking is the teachings of Socrates as recorded by Plato. 

Over time, the definition of critical thinking has evolved.

Most definitions of critical thinking are fairly complex and best understood by philosophy majors or psychologists.

For example, the Foundation for Critical Thinking , a nonprofit think tank, offers this definition:

“Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”

If that makes your head spin, here are some definitions that you can relate to more easily.

Critical thinking is “reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.”


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Or, a catchy way of defining critical thinking is “deciding what’s true and what you should do.”

But my favorite uber-simple definition is that critical thinking is simply “thinking about thinking.”

6 Major Benefits of Good Critical Thinking Skills

Whether or not you think critically can make the difference between success and failure in just about every area of your life.

Our human brains are imperfect and prone to irrationality, distortions, prejudices, and cognitive biases .

Cognitive biases are systematic patterns of irrational thinking.

While the number of cognitive biases varies depending on the source, Wikipedia, for example, lists nearly 200 of them ! 

Some of the most well-known cognitive biases include:

Critical thinking will help you move past the limitations of irrational thinking.

Here are some of the most important ways critical thinking can impact your life.

1. Critical Thinking Is a Key to Career Success

There are many professions where critical thinking is an absolute must.

Lawyers, analysts, accountants, doctors, engineers, reporters, and scientists of all kinds must apply critical thinking frequently.

But critical thinking is a skill set that is becoming increasingly valuable in a growing number of professions.

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Critical thinking can help you in any profession where you must:

And, as we enter the fourth industrial revolution , critical thinking has become one of the most sought-after skills.

chart showing the increase in demand for enterprise skills

According to the World Economic Forum , critical thinking and complex problem-solving are the two top in-demand skills that employers look for. 

Critical thinking is considered a soft or enterprise skill — a core attribute required to succeed in the workplace . 

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According to The University of Arizona, other soft skills include : 

Critical thinking can help you develop the rest of these soft skills.

Developing your critical thinking can help you land a job since many employers will ask you interview questions or even give you a test to determine how well you can think critically.

It can also help you continually succeed in your career, since being a critical thinker is a powerful predictor of long-term success.

2. Critical Thinkers Make Better Decisions

Every day you make thousands of decisions.

Most of them are made by your subconscious , are not very important, and don’t require much thought. 

But the most important decisions you make can be hard and require a lot of thought, such as when or if you should change jobs, relocate to a new city, buy a house, get married, or have kids.

At work, you may have to make decisions that can alter the course of your career or the lives of others.

Critical thinking helps you cope with everyday problems as they arise.

It promotes independent thinking and strengthens your inner “BS detector.”

It helps you make sense of the glut of data and information available, making you a smarter consumer who is less likely to fall for advertising hype, peer pressure, or scams.

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3. Critical Thinking Can Make You Happier

Knowing and understanding yourself is an underappreciated path to happiness. 

We’ve already shown how your quality of life largely depends on the quality of your decisions, but equally as important is the quality of your thoughts.

Critical thinking is an excellent tool to help you better understand yourself and to learn to master your thoughts.

You can use critical thinking to free yourself from cognitive biases, negative thinking , and limiting beliefs that are holding you back in any area of your life.

Critical thinking can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses so that you know what you have to offer others and where you could use improvement.

Critical thinking will enable you to better express your thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.

Better communication helps others to understand you better, resulting in less frustration for both of you.

Critical thinking fosters creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that can be applied to any area of your life.

It gives you a process you can rely on, making decisions less stressful.

4. Critical Thinking Ensures Your Opinions Are Well-Informed

We have access to more information than ever before .

Astoundingly, more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of mankind. 

Critical thinking can help you sort through the noise.

American politician, sociologist, and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan once remarked , “You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” 

Critical thinking ensures your opinions are well-informed and based on the best available facts.

You’ll get a boost in confidence when you see that those around you trust your well-considered opinions.

5. Critical Thinking Improves Relationships

You might be concerned that critical thinking will turn you into a Spock-like character who is not very good at relationships.

But, in fact, the opposite is true.

Employing critical thinking makes you more open-minded and better able to understand others’ points of view.

Spiritual, Calm, Happy, Healthy - All this at the touch of a button - Start now - Binaural Beats Meditation

Critical thinkers are more empathetic and in a better position to get along with different kinds of people.

Critical thinking keeps you from jumping to conclusions.

You can be counted on to be the voice of reason when arguments get heated.

You’ll be better able to detect when others:

6. Critical Thinking Makes You a Better, More Informed Citizen

“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”

This quote has been incorrectly attributed to Thomas Jefferson , but regardless of the source, its words of wisdom are more relevant than ever. 

Critical thinkers are able to see both sides of any issue and are more likely to generate bipartisan solutions.

They are less likely to be swayed by propaganda or get swept up in mass hysteria.

They are in a better position to spot fake news when they see it.

5 Steps to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

Some people already have well-developed critical thinking skills.

These people are analytical, inquisitive, and open to new ideas.

And, even though they are confident in their own opinions, they seek the truth, even if it proves their existing ideas to be wrong.

They are able to connect the dots between ideas and detect inconsistencies in others’ thinking.

But regardless of the state of your critical thinking skills today, it’s a skill set you can develop.

While there are many techniques for thinking rationally, here’s a classic 5-step critical thinking process . 

How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills

Clearly define your question or problem.

This step is so important that Albert Einstein famously quipped:

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”

Gather Information to Help You Weigh the Options

Consider only the most useful and reliable information from the most reputable sources.

Disregard the rest.

Apply the Information and Ask Critical Questions

Scrutinize all information carefully with a skeptic’s eye.

Not sure what questions to ask?

You can’t go wrong starting with the “5 Ws” that any good investigator asks: Who. What. Where. When. Why.

Then finish by asking “How.”

You’ll find more thought-provoking questions on this Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet .

Consider the Implications

Look for potential unintended consequences.

Do a thought experiment about how your solution could play out in both the short term and the long run.

Explore the Full Spectrum of Viewpoints

Examine why others are drawn to differing points of view.

This will help you objectively evaluate your own viewpoint.

You may find critical thinkers who take an opposing view and this can help you find gaps in your own logic.

Watch the Video

This TED-Ed video on YouTube elaborates on the five steps to improve your critical thinking.

Why Critical Thinking Is Important: Take the Next Step

Critical thinking is one of the most important cognitive skills that you can develop.

By improving the quality of both your decisions and your thoughts, critical thinking can significantly improve your life, both personally and professionally.

Too many people criticize without thinking or think without being critical.

You don’t have to be one of them.

Follow the five steps above to develop your “critical thinking muscle.”

As a side benefit, critical thinking has the power to make the world a more rational, reasonable place.

Recommended: Upgrading brain health is key to making your brain work better.

What Is Critical Thinking And Why Is It Important?

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Critical thinking is a skill that is vital in order to make conscious, well-informed decisions. The decisions you make in the present will impact the quality of your life in the future. If you want to make sure you live your best life, you must put critical thinking at the forefront of everything you do.

Studies indicate that critical thinkers are happier and much more content with their lives. This satisfaction stems from a deeper understanding of the self. Critical thinkers are great at self-reflection, and they understand their aspirations and motivators. In addition, critical thinkers can process information better and analyze everything that happens, allowing them to grasp the most important lessons and apply them to their life.

Critical thinking is a skill that prevents you from being stagnant or stuck in life. Instead, you can stay proactive in changing any situation and promoting personal growth. All of these elements combined will truly increase your overall satisfaction and happiness in all aspects of your life. Below is a detailed overview of critical thinking, and why it’s important:


What Exactly is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking has been a buzzword for decades. In fact, many types of research indicate that the art of critical thinking is rooted in the teachings of famous philosophers, Socrates and Plato. Though exact definitions may have changed through the years, most experts will agree that the term ‘critical thinking’ typically refers to reflective thinking before deciding to act. You’re not one of the sheep following the herd or mindlessly going through the motions – you’re a critical thinker.

It can be quite challenging to define critical thinking because many people associate the word “critical” with negative connotations. After all, no one likes to be criticized and people generally dislike fault finding. However, critical thinking is anything but that, though the concept itself is rather complex when applied to everyday living.

Some would say critical thinking is the process of analyzing information to formulate a sound judgement. Simply put, it is the act of thinking about thinking. You explore all avenues and every side of what you encounter before formulating a conclusion. You challenge yourself and your own thoughts when you’re a critical thinker.

The Importance of Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is important in our society because it is a universal concept that applies to anyone, regardless of race, culture, economic status, or religion. Moreover, our future hinges on critical thinking , because societies and economies need it to solve problems effectively and efficiently. Below are some compelling reasons why it is vital to have critical thinking skills:

Achieve Peace of Mind

Critical thinkers generally express themselves well, because they can think clearly and systematically about any issue in front of them. They break down messages that they see and understand what is conveyed clearly, preventing miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Besides, this provides people with tools to self-reflect and evaluate what they need to do. When you can live life with peace of mind, you can:

Remember, living with stress can make you sick. It impacts your immune system negatively, making you more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. Besides, lower immunity means leaving your body vulnerable to chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. You can avoid all that by practising critical thinking, leading to a peaceful and happier existence.

Helps with Decision Making

Those who practice critical thinking do not only solve problems efficiently. Instead, they analyze ideas and come up with creative ways and alternative solutions. With a critical thinking mind, you can always adjust to any situation, whether with your family or work. As a result, you can make better choices for yourself and your family.

If you exercise critical thinking, you can readily deal with issues that come your way. And with consistent practice, your thought process is already done on the subconscious level, meaning you instinctually follow things because you are in tune with your mind and have a deep understanding of why you think the way you do. With critical thinking, you are happier with outcomes because:

All of these elements combined equate to sound decisions that you will not live to regret.

Improves Relationships

Again, remember that being critical is different from critical thinking. Exercising the latter will promote harmonious relationships may it be in your family, work, or community. Why? By thinking critically, you willingly understand the perspectives of others. You do not impose your thoughts on them, but you are more open-minded towards varying opinions and views.

For example, critical thinking can stop you from saying hurtful words during an argument. A sound mind can also help you stay calm and collected amid adversity. As a result, you have a clear head that propels you to make the right choices that promote harmony and cultivate relationships for the better. In contrast, the lack of critical thinking is counterproductive, resulting in confusion, stress, and sadness.

Filters Out Noise

Since the advent of the digital revolution, there has been no shortage of information coming from everywhere. This includes fake news, historical revisionism, and outright wrongful information. All of these digital “noises” can make anyone feel confused.

And this is precisely why you must exercise critical thinking even more. You ought to look at all sides of the story before you decide what to believe in. With critical thinking, you can do the following:

Critical Thinking Fosters Career Success

All career paths desire a critical thinker. In fact, HR reps want you to fill in their job posts if you think critically. This kind of level-headedness is not just for scientists but also for lawyers, doctors, journalists, engineers, teachers, accountants, and more. In every single profession, you must think critically.

According to the World Economic Forum , the most desirable skill to have in the workplace is critical thinking. This skill helps you:

Promotes a Good and Orderly Society

Critical thinking is one of the bastions of democracy. As former POTUS Thomas Jefferson once said: “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people!” Without this, everyone can readily succumb to manipulation and propaganda.

For society to effectively function, everyone must use their knowledge to assess different information and situations. Critical thinkers make good citizens because they can see the big picture without clouding their judgements with biases.


What are the Qualities of Critical Thinkers?

Critical thinkers consider multiple sides of an issue or topic before making their judgment. They ask questions about what they see or hear instead of blindly accepting the information they are given. Critical thinking skills typically ensure you are not biased.

On top of that, critical thinkers dig deeper and don’t accept everything at face value. They use logic, questioning, and verification of information before crafting their conclusions. Therefore, critical thinkers exhibit the following qualities:

Just like you exercise your muscles at the gym, you must exercise your mind to make it stronger. You must be mindful in practising critical thinking because many other skills hinge on it, like patience in solving problems, staying logical amidst a crisis, making decisions, or even staying open-minded to divergent ideas.

Critical thinking improves your life because learning, analyzing, and acquiring knowledge is a lifelong process that doesn’t stop at school. As a critical thinker, you’ll also be trusted by your peers much more. However, if you truly want peace of mind, you should also be on top of your overall health, because good health is the true measure of wealth. Try CircleDNA to get a DNA test that gives you insight into your brain health and physical health. Knowledge is power.

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why is critical thinking important to society

Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT

… the pulse of the gifted community.

The Impact of Critical Thinking on Society

why is critical thinking important to society

This week’s Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT tackled the issue of the impact of critical thinking on society. Our guest was Colin Seale, founder of thinkLaw and author of Thinking like a Lawyer. Colin Seale is an educator, attorney, and critical thinking expert. He founded thinkLaw, an award-winning organization, to help educators leverage inquiry-based instructional strategies that can close the critical thinking gap and ensure they teach and reach all students. Colin is a contributor to Forbes, Education Post, and The 74.

Critical thinking embodies the ability to recognize and challenge assumptions, understand context in a given situation, a willingness to work through complexities and change when faced with evidence contrary to one’s own view. It encompasses compare and contrast; sequencing; and analysis and assessment of ideas. Critical thinking can be formed through Socratic questioning, PBL, identifying ‘big’ ideas, and by listening to student voice and then providing feedback.

We are living in unprecedented times where society is faced with complex problems, disinformation, anti-intellectualism, a lack of social justice, and inequitable laws; all over-shadowed by an uncontrolled, global Pandemic. Critical thinking skills provide greater problem-solving ability, increased rigor in classrooms that lead to higher test scores, self-discipline, ability to think clearly, and to deal effectively with change. Critical thinking skills lead to valuing and respecting the ideas of fellow citizens, empathy, more creativity, and a well-functioning democracy.


If critical thinking is so important, why aren’t students exposed to it more in school? Critical thinking leads learners to independent thinking, questioning the status quo, consideration of opposing points of view, and the potential to adopt new ways of thinking. Change is hard. How we educate our children has changed little in over a century. Exposing students to critical thinking requires institutions to consider alternative ways of doing things. It requires not just change, but smart change. Today’s classrooms are generally viewed as authoritarian filled with students who complain of boredom and question the value of education. We need to move to a forum where students are cognitively challenged to facilitate critical thinking.

In “Thinking Like a Lawyer,” Colin argued access to critical thinking paves the road to equity and racial justice. How can schools improve access to critical thinking instruction? Schools should allow time for deep dives into topics and student reflection. Elimination of relentless repetition and requiring accuracy in outcomes would be especially beneficial for GT students. Improving teacher preparation at the undergraduate level and ongoing professional development on how to teach critical thinking skills could increase the number of students who gain these skills. The simple reduction in the amount of standardized testing prevalent in schools today will allow teachers the time to refocus learning away from rote memorization and teaching to the test.

Online resources that provide a forum for discussion, small group activities as well as peer review activities can aid in integrating critical thinking skills into the curriculum. Many of these forums are already in use for remote learning such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Docs. Online tools that facilitate reflection activities such as Canvas are widely in current use by schools. Digital Storytelling tools include Weebly, Edublogs, and Storybird.


How can parents help their children develop critical thinking skills? Parents are their child’s first teacher; the first line of defense of continuing societal norms. Critical thinking can be nurtured by engaging in deep, meaningful conversation with children accompanied by honest feedback. They should encourage their child to reflect on their own thoughts, to embrace experiences they may see as difficult, and to see failure as a pathway to growth.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet .

why is critical thinking important to society

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented   is a weekly chat on  Twitter . Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at  Wakelet . Our  Facebook Page  provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our  Pinterest  Page and Playlist on  YouTube .

Lisa Conrad

Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students (book) | Colin Seale

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills to Fourth Grade Students Identified as Gifted and Talented (Google Doc)

Fostering Critical Thinking in Children and K-12 Students

A Deceptively Simple Strategy for Promoting Critical Thinking | Edutopia

Starting Critical Thinking and Collaboration Early (YouTube 4:01) | Edutopia

5 Ways to Boost Critical Thinking in World Language Classes | Edutopia

Preparing Social Studies Students to Think Critically in the Modern World | Edutopia

Help Students Develop Critical Thinking Online and in the Classroom (Webinar – free registration req’d) | Free Spirit Publishing

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Online Classroom

Using Technology to Develop Students’ Critical Thinking Skills

26 Critical Thinking Tools Aligned With Bloom’s Taxonomy (pdf)

Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens: Resources for Teaching Copyright and Fair Use

Poynter Institute – MediaWise: How to Sort Fact from Fiction Online

Book Excerpt: ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’ Explores How to Close the Critical Thinking Gap for All Students |  Colin Seale

Why I Wrote ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’: Because Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students Paves a Path to Racial Justice | Colin Seale

A Society with Poor Critical Thinking Skills: The Case for ‘Argument’ in Education

What are the Importance and Benefits of “Critical Thinking Skills”?

Thinking Critically and Critical Thinking: Integrating Online Tools to Promote Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking: What It Means and How to Foster it in Your Children | International School of Denver

Critical Thinking in Education

The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims 6th Edition (book)

Critical Thinking in Everyday Life

Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking

Making Critical Thinking Matter – Prioritizing Higher Order Instruction in a World of Constraints

Strategies for Teaching Critical Thinking

How to Foster Critical and Creative Thinking

Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students (Webinar 39:51) | Vimeo

Cybraryman’s Critical Thinking Page

The Case For Critical Thinking: The COVID-19 Pandemic And An Urgent Call To Close The Critical Thinking Gap In Education | Forbes

Sometimes the Outcome Is the Equity: Why It’s Critical to Prepare Students of Color to Do Well on Standardized Tests — Even If You’re Not a Fan | Colin Seale

Richard Feynman on Education in Brazil

The Educational Equity Equation Series | thinkLaw

Image courtesy of Pixabay   Pixabay License

Images courtesy of Colin Seale and thinkLaw

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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The Importance of Critical Thinking, For Students and Ourselves

A group of students sit at a table discussing the importance of critical thinking

Critical thinking is a vital skill, yet it’s often neglected. In higher education, we know the importance of learning objectives that let us measure learner success. Starting with a clear definition of critical thinking allows us to identify the associated skills that we want to imbue in our students and ourselves.

Defining Critical Thinking

According to the Oxford Languages dictionary , critical thinking is “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.” It sounds relatively simple, yet we often form judgments without that all-important objective analysis/evaluation piece.

Employers on the Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) Social Sciences Advisory Board tell us that they want to hire people with critical thinking skills, but applicants often lack this ability. According to Professor of Science Dr. Norman Herr , critical thinking skills can be boiled down to the following key sequential elements:

As educators, we must teach our students those critical thinking skills and practice them ourselves to objectively analyze an onslaught of information. Ideas, especially plausible-sounding philosophies, should be challenged and pass the credibility litmus test.

Red Flag Alert

The School Library Journal lists four types of information that should raise red flags when we’re watching the news, reading social media, or at any point in our everyday lives when we are confronted with something purported to be “fact:”

Get With the Times

SNHU, and other colleges and universities across the U.S., must use updated tools to help their students think critically about the information they consume. Currently, many institutions of higher learning fail to teach students how to identify misinformation sources. Sam Wineburg and Nadiv Ziv , professors of education at Stanford University, argue that many colleges offer guides to evaluating website trustworthiness, but far too many of them base their advice on a 1998 report on assessing websites. They warn that it makes no sense for colleges to share 20-year-old advice on dealing with the rapidly-changing online landscape, where two decades feels like a century.

Further, as educators in institutions of higher education, we must afford learners as many opportunities as possible to hone their critical thinking skills when interacting with instructors and fellow students. Greg Lukianoff and Johnathan Haidt , authors of The Coddling of the American Mind , contend that “one of the most brilliant features of universities is that, when they are working properly, they are communities of scholars who cancel out one another’s confirmation biases .” Without exploring opposing viewpoints, students may fall prey to confirmation bias, further cementing ideas that they already believe to be true. Being inclusive when it comes to viewpoint diversity is indispensable for avoiding these echo chambers that circumvent having one’s ideas challenged.

Separating Wheat from Chaff: Critical Thinking Examples

As we teach our students the importance of critical thinking, how do we equip them to sift through the onslaught of information they encounter every day, both personally and in their educational pursuits? And how do we do the same for ourselves?

Here are four critical thinking examples that anyone can apply when evaluating information:

Anyone in a teaching position should point their students toward reliable references. For example, at SNHU, instructors can point their students towards the Shapiro Library for their assignments. No matter where you teach, the main objective is to give them opportunities to apply critical thinking skills by evaluating material that they encounter in everyday life. Another way to do this at SNHU or in any online classroom is by incorporating elements of the four points into your announcements, discussion posts and feedback. For example, you might post two articles with differing viewpoints on the week’s material. For each, break down the publication’s possible slant, the way in which any research-based material is presented and the author’s credentials. Hypothetically, ask students whether those factors might be playing into the opinions expressed.

Misinformation Morphs into Disinformation

Misinformation, if not addressed, easily turns into disinformation when it is readily shared by students, individuals and groups that may know it is wrong. They may continue to intentionally spread it to cast doubt or stir divisiveness. Students listen to their peers, and the more critical thinking is addressed in a course, the more we prepare students not to fall into the misinformation trap.

Courtney Brown and Sherrish Holland , of the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers, argue that for educators, the challenge is now far more about how they need to inform their students to interpret and assess the information they come across and not simply how to gain access to it. The term “fake news” is used to discredit anyone trying to clarify fact from fiction. Fake news is a cover for some people when they are being deliberately deceptive. As educators become clearer about the distinction, it can be better communicated to students.

Anyone Can Promote Critical Thinking

Even if you don’t teach, use those points in conversations to help others hone their critical thinking skills, along with a dose of emotional intelligence. If someone shares misinformation with you, don’t be combative. Instead, use probing statements and questions designed to spark their critical thinking.

Here are some examples:

“That’s very interesting. Do you think the person they’re quoting might be letting his business interests color what he’s saying?”

“I know that sometimes the media oversimplifies research. I wonder who funded that study and if that’s influencing what they’re saying.”

Of course, you need to adapt to the situation and to make what you say sound organic and conversational, but the core idea remains the same. Inspire the other person to use critical thinking skills. Give them reasons to look more deeply into the topic instead of blindly accepting information. Course activities that stimulate interaction and a deep dive into course-related ideas will encourage perspective-taking and foster new avenues of thought along the path to life-long learning. As American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” While Mead was referring to younger children, this statement is apropos for learners in higher education who are tasked with dissecting volumes of information.

It’s crucial to teach our students to question what they read and hear. Jerry Baldasty , provost at the University of Washington, believes that democracies live and die by the ability of their people to access information and engage in robust discussions based upon facts. It is the facts that are being attacked by misinformation. The result is a growing distrust of our core societal institution. People have lost confidence in religious organizations, higher education, government and the media as they believe deliberately deceptive information they come across.

Baldasty argues, “this is why it is crucial that we educate our students how to think critically, access and analyze data, and, above all, question the answers.” Students need critical thinking skills for much more than their self-enlightenment. They will become our leaders, politicians, teachers, researchers, advocates, authors, business owners and perhaps most importantly, voters. The more we can imbue them with critical thinking skills, the better.

Dr Nickolas Dominello

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About southern new hampshire university.

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SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs . Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU  page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.

why is critical thinking important to society


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