Jamie Hale

Jamie Hale

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Myths About Critical Thinking

Critical thinking (rational thinking) is good thinking; it involves forming appropriate goals, goal optimization and forming evidence based beliefs. Two common myths associated with critical thinking are emotion prevents critical thinking and critical thinking is synonymous with formal logic.

Emotions may enhance instrumental rationality, or they may impede it. Emotions provide an approximation of the correct response.  If more accuracy than that is required, then a more precise type of analytic cognition will be required (Stanovich, 2009)  It is possible to rely too much on the emotions.  We can base responses on an approximation when what is really needed is a more precise type of analytic thought.  More often than not, processes of emotional regulation enhance rational thinking and behavior....

Myths About Rationality

Although many people feel (mistakenly or not) that they could do without the ability to solve textbook logic problems (which is why the caricatured view of rationality works to undercut its status), virtually no person wishes to eschew epistemic rationality and instrumental rationality, properly defined.  Virtually all people want their beliefs to be in some correspondence with reality, and they also want to act to maximize the achievement of their goals.  Psychologist Ken Manktelow has emphasized the practicality of both types of rationality by noting that they concern two critical things:  What is true and what to do.....

Formal Logic

Formal logic consists of different categories. It is concerned with evaluation of argument, often involving what are presumed to be  true premises that lead to a conclusion, that may or may not be valid. Logic isn't a complete system of thinking, as it is incomplete in evidence search; what matters is the construction of the argument. Categories of formal logic include: propositional, categorical, predicate and modal (Baron, 2008). Baron provides a discussion on logic and its various forms in his book - Thinking And Deciding 4th Edition (Baron, 2008). 

Critical Thinking

Educators, so-called evidence based practitioners and researchers  often pay lip service to the idea of teaching “critical thinking”.  But, when asked to define “critical thinking” answers are often weak and sometimes so ambiguous they are virtually worthless.  Common responses when asked to define critical thinking includes, “teaching them how to think”, “teaching them formal logic”, or “teaching them how to solve problems”.  They already know how to think; if they have a normal functioning working memory. When they are awake they are thinking about something. Logic is only a portion of what is needed to increase critical thinking, and teaching them how to solve problems is an ambiguous answer, that is context specific.  Stanovich argues, “that the superordinate goal we are actually trying to foster is that of rationality” (Stanovich, 2010, p.198). Critical thinking, as it is commonly referred, is a weak concept that lacks converging evidence. And, if measured at all, it is often measured in a subjective way, not susceptible to replication. Cognitive science, conceptualizes clearly and provides an array of measures of rational thinking tasks. The first comprehensive assessment was made public in 2016.      


Monday, December 10, 2018

Myths Under Investigation

Myths, in the context of my work, are conceptualized as incorrect beliefs or claims. A large portion of my work is aimed at the study of myths. Presenting a strong case against myths requires elaborative refutational strategies (text, demonstrations, videos, verbal destruction, comparative outcommes etc...). Myth shattering is time consuming, and requires exceptional knowledge in the area being addressed.

Does vaccination increase the likelihood of autism? One hypothesis is that vaccination in general, MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) virus live vaccine, and vaccines that contain mercury cause autism. Actress Jenny McCarthy is one of the most outspoken proponents of the autism-vaccine hypothesis. She has appeared on numerous TV shows, radio shows and other media outlets where she has claimed that there is definitely a link between vaccines and autism....
Myths About Memory

Memory is important in everyday judgments and decision-making.  In some way or another, memory affects most aspects of our lives.  It is no surprise that there are many myths about memory...

What's Your Learning Style

Do a Google search for the words “learning styles” and you will find a large number of websites claiming they can identify your preferred learning style in a matter of minutes. Are you a verbal learner? Are you a auditory learner? Are you a kinesthetic learner? Supposedly, those with expertise in the VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) classification system can answer those questions; they can provide a diagnosis regarding your best learning style....
A New Understanding of the Human Brain

College students are taught that the human brain consists of 100 billion neurons.  This claim can be found in numerous textbooks.  College instructors often promote the 100 billion neuron claim.  This claim is also promoted by widespread media sources. If you have read much about the brain or engaged in dialogue regarding the human brain there is a good chance you have encountered......

Drinking 8 glasses of Water Per Day?

It’s common knowledge that we should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Or at least many people think it’s common knowledge....

For The Love of Myth Busting

Books, seminars and articles on myths are popular. My most popular seminar is Interrogating Nutrition Claims. It is not uncommon to see one acquire myth killer status in a specific domain, while promoting myths in another domain. Ostensibly, it isn't that people who like shattering myths are concerned with truth value as much as they are concerned with domain specific knowledge, and the concern is often demonstrating smarts in a specific area. A consistent concern with epistemic rationality (evidential rationality) involves consistent use of logic, and the plethora of cognitive mechanisms that underpin critical thinking (cognitive faculties of scientific thinking and reflective processing).

Myth Shattering: A Comprehensive Model

A comprehensive approach to the study of false beliefs and claims involves the investigation of- psychological, social, mimetic processes, critical / rational thinking and sources of myths. The approach requires a multidisciplinary approach.