Article

Critical Thinking

Heather Butler and Diane Halpern

in Psychology

ISBN: 9780199828340
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0019
Critical Thinking

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Critical thinking has been described in many ways, but researchers generally agree that critical thinking involves rational, purposeful, and goal-directed thinking (see Defining Critical Thinking). Diane F. Halpern defined critical thinking as an attempt to increase the probability of a desired outcome (e.g., making a sound decision, successfully solving a problem) by using certain cognitive skills and strategies. Critical thinking is more than just a collection of skills and strategies: it is a disposition toward engaging with problems. Critical thinkers are flexible, open-minded, persistent, and willing to exert mental energy working on tough problems. Unlike poor thinkers, critical thinkers are willing to admit they have made an error in judgment if confronted with contradictory evidence, and they operate on autopilot much less than poor thinkers (see Critical Thinking Dispositions). There is good evidence that critical thinking skills and dispositions can be taught (see Teaching Critical Thinking). This guide includes (a) sources that extol the importance of critical thinking, (b) research that identifies specific critical thinking skills and conceptualizations of critical thinking dispositions, (c) a list of the best practices for teaching critical thinking skills and dispositions, and (d) a review of research into ways of assessing critical thinking skills and dispositions (see Assessments).

Article.  10855 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Developmental Psychology ; Health Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology ; Educational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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