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We don’t think how we think we think - feature image, used as a supportive image and isn't important to understand article

What is critical thinking? Do you think you know how you think? What makes something accurate or precise? Just some of the puzzling, philosophical questions posed by Dr Peter Ellerton, Director of The University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project, to the participants in his critical thinking workshop.

We don’t think how we think we think - content image

Dr Ellerton began by quickly separating critical thinking from intelligence, and how we are unconsciously making decisions without us thinking about them:

“We really don’t know how much in charge we are of our own decision making.”

QUICK! Pick a number between 5 and 12!

Did you pick 7?

Most people do! According to Dr Ellerton, when asked to do something quickly, we often revert back to what we know (simple maths), and funnily enough, 12 - 5 = 7, and 5 + 7 = 12!

Dr Ellerton explained that this type of thinking is part a two-part system:

  • System 1 - quick ‘go with your gut’ style thinking
  • System 2 - slow thinking where we make conscious decisions

So what does this have to do with critical thinking?

Well, as a critical thinker, “you are concerned with the quality of your own thinking” and “critical thinking begins with the giving and taking of reasons”.

If we can better understand how we make decisions, and what makes an argument reasonable, then we can become better critical thinkers - something that will be ‘critical’ for our participants to apply in all of the exciting STEM workshops, lectures and webinars coming up over the next few weeks!

Thank you so much to Dr Peter Ellerton for sharing his incredible insight with our participants.

The 2022 NYSF Year 12 Program Critical Thinking Workshop was proudly supported by The University of Queensland.

We don’t think how we think we think - content image