Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Our brain – in conditions of stress and in situations of uncertainty and when we are afraid – acts in a fast, automatic and stereotyped way. Thinking is intuitive, emotional, unreflective, irrational, and subject to numerous cognitive errors and biases.

Critical thinking is the thought process that knows its working limits and contrasts the fallacy of certain affirmations by reasoning using an investigative spirit, in search of reliable information. It counteracts the tendency to give rubber-stamped answers and to react to situations automatically and mechanically, by adopting reflection and weighting.

Critical thinking is slow, thoughtful and reflective thinking that moves forward by trial and error. Before making a judgement or taking a decision, people with critical thinking rationally examine proof and evidence in an objective way, weighing the pros and cons, and they stop to think about hypotheses and possible alternative courses of action. And they do this adopting an interdisciplinary and open-to-knowledge approach.

They are independent and not influenced by environmental conditioning; they recognise external factors that influence their thinking and behaviours and that of others and they take responsibility for their choices and are accountable for the experiences they live.

They adopt an active and sceptical thinking process: they distinguish actual facts from their own subjective impressions and personal interpretations; they do not opt for the first solution but compare the different positions to arrive at their own synthesis, free from inside and outside prejudices.
They do not have a vision where only right and wrong exist, but they understand that right and wrong may coexist and what is true today may not be true tomorrow.

Like the word crisis, critical thinking can be understood as the ability to discern reality from fiction, to distinguish and assess, to retain what is of value, discarding what is not important. This ability returns a clearer perspective of reality and reduces the possibility of mulling over our mistakes, of falling into frustrating misunderstandings and ending up in a dead end with no way out. Critical thinking helps develop a constructive attitude that sees each challenge as an opportunity to learn something new.