Critical Thinking in Everyday Life

A special issue of Journal of Intelligence (ISSN 2079-3200).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 18503

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Technology Education, Technological University of the Shannon IE, Athlone, Ireland
Interests: critical thinking; instructional design; argument mapping; metacognition; e-learning; memory; interactive management; cognitive difficulties, healthcare judgment & decision-making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Critical thinking is a metacognitive process that, through purposeful, self-regulatory reflective judgment; skills of analysis, evaluation, and inference; and a disposition towards thinking, increases the chances of producing a logical conclusion to an argument or a solution to a problem. As a result of the dramatically rising availability of information (including both misinformation and disinformation), the need for critical thinking is arguably more important now than ever. Given the role of higher-order cognitive processes at the foundation of critical thinking, the relationship between intelligence and critical thinking is important for consideration not only for readers of the Journal of Intelligence, but anyone in cognitive science, education, or simply those that want to enhance the quality of thinking in their everyday lives. Given that a large body of CT research has focused on its conceptualisation and enhancement through educational strategies, this Special Issue provides a unique scope by exploring the application of critical thinking to real-world settings and everyday life through a collection of original research, a review of the literature, and position pieces regarding topics of utmost relevance to such applications.

Dr. Christopher P. Dwyer
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Intelligence is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 380 KiB  
Article
Critical Thinking: The ARDESOS-DIAPROVE Program in Dialogue with the Inference to the Best and Only Explanation
by Miguel H. Guamanga, Fabián A. González, Carlos Saiz and Silvia F. Rivas
J. Intell. 2023, 11(12), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11120226 - 16 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1448
Abstract
In our daily lives, we are often faced with the need to explain various phenomena, but we do not always select the most accurate explanation. For example, let us consider a “toxic” relationship with physical and psychological abuse, where one of the partners [...] Read more.
In our daily lives, we are often faced with the need to explain various phenomena, but we do not always select the most accurate explanation. For example, let us consider a “toxic” relationship with physical and psychological abuse, where one of the partners is reluctant to end it. Explanations for this situation can range from emotional or economic dependency to irrational hypotheses such as witchcraft. Surprisingly, some people may turn to the latter explanation and consequently seek ineffective solutions, such as visiting a witch doctor instead of a psychologist. This choice of an inappropriate explanation can lead to actions that are not only ineffective but potentially harmful. This example underscores the importance of inference to the best explanation (IBE) in everyday decision making. IBE involves selecting the hypothesis that would best explain the available body of data or evidence, a process that is crucial to making sound decisions but is also vulnerable to bias and errors of judgment. Within this context, the purpose of our article is to explore how the IBE process and the selection of appropriate explanations impact decision making and problem solving in real life. To this end, we systematically analyze the role of IBE in the ARDESOS-DIAPROVE program, evaluating how this approach can enhance the teaching and practice of critical thinking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Thinking in Everyday Life)
26 pages, 1754 KiB  
Article
Critical Thinking, Formation, and Change
by Carlos Saiz and Silvia F. Rivas
J. Intell. 2023, 11(12), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11120219 - 28 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1992
Abstract
In this paper, we propose an application of critical thinking (CT) to real-world problems, taking into account personal well-being (PB) and lifelong formation (FO). First, we raise a substantial problem with CT, which is that causal explanation is of little importance in solving [...] Read more.
In this paper, we propose an application of critical thinking (CT) to real-world problems, taking into account personal well-being (PB) and lifelong formation (FO). First, we raise a substantial problem with CT, which is that causal explanation is of little importance in solving everyday problems. If we care about everyday problems, we must treat the identification of causal relationships as a fundamental mechanism and action as a form of solution once the origin of the problem is unequivocally known. Decision-making and problem-solving skills should be the execution of the causal explanations reached. By acting this way, we change reality and achieve our goals, which are none other than those imposed by our PB. However, to achieve changes or results, we must have these fundamental competencies in CT, and these are not innate; we must acquire and develop them, that is, we must train ourselves to have CT competencies according to the demands of today’s world. Finally, in this paper we propose a causal model that seeks to identify and test the causal relationships that exist between the different factors or variables that determine the CT-PB-FO relationship. We present some results on the relevance of causality and how to effectively form and address real-world problems from causality. However, there are still questions to be clarified that need to be investigated in future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Thinking in Everyday Life)
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Review

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12 pages, 264 KiB  
Review
Predicting Everyday Critical Thinking: A Review of Critical Thinking Assessments
by Heather A. Butler
J. Intell. 2024, 12(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence12020016 - 01 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1982
Abstract
Our ability to think critically and our disposition to do so can have major implications for our everyday lives. Research across the globe has shown the impact of critical thinking on decisions about our health, politics, relationships, finances, consumer purchases, education, work, and [...] Read more.
Our ability to think critically and our disposition to do so can have major implications for our everyday lives. Research across the globe has shown the impact of critical thinking on decisions about our health, politics, relationships, finances, consumer purchases, education, work, and more. This chapter will review some of that research. Given the importance of critical thinking to our everyday lives, the fair and unbiased assessment of critical thinking is useful for guiding educators in their classrooms, for the sake of self-improvement, and in employment decisions. This chapter will also review the psychometric properties of several critical thinking assessments, with a special emphasis on the everyday behaviors predicted by these assessments. The practical challenges faced by test adopters and future directions in the assessment of critical thinking will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Thinking in Everyday Life)
15 pages, 333 KiB  
Review
Critical Thinking, Intelligence, and Unsubstantiated Beliefs: An Integrative Review
by D. Alan Bensley
J. Intell. 2023, 11(11), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11110207 - 30 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3180
Abstract
A review of the research shows that critical thinking is a more inclusive construct than intelligence, going beyond what general cognitive ability can account for. For instance, critical thinking can more completely account for many everyday outcomes, such as how thinkers reject false [...] Read more.
A review of the research shows that critical thinking is a more inclusive construct than intelligence, going beyond what general cognitive ability can account for. For instance, critical thinking can more completely account for many everyday outcomes, such as how thinkers reject false conspiracy theories, paranormal and pseudoscientific claims, psychological misconceptions, and other unsubstantiated claims. Deficiencies in the components of critical thinking (in specific reasoning skills, dispositions, and relevant knowledge) contribute to unsubstantiated belief endorsement in ways that go beyond what standardized intelligence tests test. Specifically, people who endorse unsubstantiated claims less tend to show better critical thinking skills, possess more relevant knowledge, and are more disposed to think critically. They tend to be more scientifically skeptical and possess a more rational–analytic cognitive style, while those who accept unsubstantiated claims more tend to be more cynical and adopt a more intuitive–experiential cognitive style. These findings suggest that for a fuller understanding of unsubstantiated beliefs, researchers and instructors should also assess specific reasoning skills, relevant knowledge, and dispositions which go beyond what intelligence tests test. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Thinking in Everyday Life)

Other

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9 pages, 268 KiB  
Essay
Mindware: Critical Thinking in Everyday Life
by John Eigenauer
J. Intell. 2024, 12(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence12020017 - 02 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1516
Abstract
Humans make many decisions in everyday life, some of which require careful use of evidence. Because emotional and heuristic mental processes dominate human cognition, it is common to suggest that there is little hope that critical thinking tools will be widely used. However, [...] Read more.
Humans make many decisions in everyday life, some of which require careful use of evidence. Because emotional and heuristic mental processes dominate human cognition, it is common to suggest that there is little hope that critical thinking tools will be widely used. However, the concept of “mindware” gives hope to the idea that critical thinking skills may be more widely deployed than they currently are. This article reflects on some impediments to critical thinking, assesses some future challenges to critical thinking being more widely used, and suggests that “mindware” modules can be used widely both in and out of educational settings to significantly enhance critical thinking in everyday life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Thinking in Everyday Life)
14 pages, 331 KiB  
Essay
Critical Thinking: Creating Job-Proof Skills for the Future of Work
by Daniela Dumitru and Diane F. Halpern
J. Intell. 2023, 11(10), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11100194 - 09 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3535
Abstract
In this study, we explore the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the job market and argue for the growing importance of critical thinking skills in the face of job automation and changing work dynamics. Advancements in AI have the potential to [...] Read more.
In this study, we explore the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the job market and argue for the growing importance of critical thinking skills in the face of job automation and changing work dynamics. Advancements in AI have the potential to disrupt various professions, including, for example, programming, legal work, and radiology. However, solely relying on AI systems can lead to errors and misjudgments, emphasizing the need for human oversight. The concept of “job-proof skills” is introduced, highlighting the importance of critical thinking, problem-solving, empathy, ethics, and other human attributes that machines cannot replicate with the same standards and agility. We maintain that critical thinking can be taught and learned through appropriate classroom instruction and transfer-focused approaches. The need for critical thinking skills is further reinforced by the influx of information and the spread of misinformation in the age of social media. Moreover, employers increasingly value critical thinking skills in their workforce, yet there exists a gap between the demand for these skills and the preparedness of college graduates. Critical thinking is not only essential for the future of work, but also for informed citizenship in an increasingly complex world. The potential impact of AI on job disruption, wages, and employment polarization is discussed, highlighting the correlation between jobs requiring critical thinking skills and their resistance to automation. We conclude by discussing collaborative efforts between universities and labor market organizations to adapt curricula and promote the development of critical thinking skills, drawing on examples from European initiatives. The need to prioritize critical thinking skills in education and address the evolving demands of the labor market is emphasized as a crucial step for navigating the future of work and opportunities for workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Thinking in Everyday Life)
17 pages, 440 KiB  
Perspective
An Evaluative Review of Barriers to Critical Thinking in Educational and Real-World Settings
by Christopher P. Dwyer
J. Intell. 2023, 11(6), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/jintelligence11060105 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3597
Abstract
Though a wide array of definitions and conceptualisations of critical thinking have been offered in the past, further elaboration on some concepts is required, particularly with respect to various factors that may impede an individual’s application of critical thinking, such as in the [...] Read more.
Though a wide array of definitions and conceptualisations of critical thinking have been offered in the past, further elaboration on some concepts is required, particularly with respect to various factors that may impede an individual’s application of critical thinking, such as in the case of reflective judgment. These barriers include varying levels of epistemological engagement or understanding, issues pertaining to heuristic-based thinking and intuitive judgment, as well as emotional and biased thinking. The aim of this review is to discuss such barriers and evaluate their impact on critical thinking in light of perspectives from research in an effort to reinforce the ‘completeness’ of extant critical thinking frameworks and to enhance the potential benefits of implementation in real-world settings. Recommendations and implications for overcoming such barriers are also discussed and evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Thinking in Everyday Life)
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