Chapter

Critical Thinking and the Education of Psychologically Literate Citizens

Diane F. Halpern and Heather A. Butler

in The Psychologically Literate Citizen

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199794942
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914500 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794942.003.0020
Critical Thinking and the Education of Psychologically Literate Citizens

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Our world gets more complex and technical with each passing day. Not only is there more information and more complex information, but information is increasingly more accessible. There are numerous benefits to the ease with which we can obtain information, but people today need to be savvy navigators of the information superhighway in order to avoid the pitfalls and pratfalls associated with determining whether information is credible or not and how to apply what they have learned in diverse situations. The set of skills and the disposition required to obtain desirable outcomes in a variety of contexts is generally known as critical thinking (Halpern, 1998; 2004). These skills are required to make informed decisions, solve problems, formulate inferences, and calculate likelihoods. Critical thinking is goal-directed and purposeful thinking. There is strong evidence to suggest that critical thinking can and should be taught as part of an education in psychology, but it is also a vital component of psychological literacy. A psychologically literacy citizen is a person who is knowledgeable of the content matter in psychology, utilizes critical thinking skills, has a critical thinking disposition, and uses scientific reasoning (a subset of all three components). This chapter discusses the conceptual underpinnings and overlap between psychological literacy and critical thinking, and suggests ways to assess them.

Keywords: critical thinking; psychological literacy; higher education; assessment

Chapter.  6185 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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