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Critical Thinking in Psychology

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Pauly and his friend, Michael, are backpacking in Europe when they meet some people traveling from Romania. One of the travelers, an elderly woman, offers to read Pauly's fortune. Being that both Pauly and Michael are part of the psychology program at Rutgers, what critical thinking skills can they use to consider this woman's proposition? What is the situation they are reacting to?

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Solution Summary

This solution examines the use of critical thinking in psychology. It examines how one may use critical thinking to consider propositions.

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Critical thinking is a higher order thinking skill which consists of evaluating, interpreting, analyzing, and making inferences as well as an explanation of evidence, upon which judgments are made (Helsdingen, van Gog, & Merriënboer, 2011). According to Helsdingen et al., people's decisions are based on recognition of aspects of a situation, and matched with earlier experiences in which a mental model of the typical evoked a sufficient decision. However, they assert that this model may be incorrect for several reasons including: (a) missing information, (b) incomplete information, (c) conflicting evidence, and (d) unreliable assumptions (p. 383). In considering critical thinking skills and the situation Pauly and his friend Michael are reacting to, the following solution is offered based on the following critical thinking guidelines.

Examine the evidence

To examine the different visions of critical thinking in psychology, one must discern the point, or examine the evidence that has to do with the purpose of the situation. In other words, in this case, an elderly woman has offered to read Pauly's fortune. Thus, critical thinking requires that there be an understanding of what is being proposed (Krischner, 2011). As Krischner points out, there might be a gap between the way something is and the way it should be {p.173). As she adds, an assumption is made that human knowledge and human existence can be improved through critical thinking. The elderly lady's proposed offer may not be consistent with the friends' reality. For instance, in reacting to the elderly lady's ...

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