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To Make Wise Decisions, Ask Yourself These Questions Every Time

To Make Wise Decisions, Ask Yourself These Questions Every Time

There is a reason why critical thinking remains one of the most coveted skills among employers, as it drives effective problem solving and enables informed decision making.

This is also a viable life-skill, as the ability to think critically ensures that we make the right choices and form relevant judgments in any given situation.

So whether you are a plumber who needs to work out the best materials to use for a particular job or a parent whose child is behaving badly and without obvious reason, critical thinking is a skill that can create positive and mutually beneficial solutions for all.

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Critical Thinking Is a Skill That New Graduates Lack

While critical thinking may be an important life skill, however, it is also one that we struggle to deploy on a regular basis. Not only is this one of the primary skills that new graduates lack [1] in the modern age, for example, but it is also hard to define and this means that many of us fail to realise that we are not thinking critically on a regular basis.

This lack of awareness makes it hard to master critical thinking, while opinion and subjective thought processes also cause issues in some circumstances. After all, critical thinking is defined as ‘the the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement’, so being unable to appraise circumstances impartially makes it impossible to practice this.

What Questions Should You Ask In Order to Think Critically?

Although it can take a while to become an effective critical thinker, there are questions that you can ask yourself to trigger the required cognitive process.

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These tend to encourage deeper thought processes that avoid simple, one-dimensional answers, utilizing Bloom’s Taxonomy to identify the type of questions [2] that prompt and shape critical thinking.

With this in mind, here is an insight into Bloom’s Taxonomy and the questions that encourage critical thinking in any given scenario.

Knowledge-Focused Questions

We start with the most basic questions, which prompt us to display previously learned material through the recall of facts, information and simple terms. These help to create context for specific circumstances, while laying out the individual elements. Some examples of this include:

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  • What is….?
  • When Did….Happen?
  • Why Did….Happen?
  • Who Did….?

Comprehension-Knowledge Questions

The next step is to demonstrate your understanding of these facts and data sets, primarily by posing questions which compare, interpret and translate information. These questions encourage deeper and more challenging thought processes, which in turn helps you to understand how specific facts relate to one another. For example:

  • What Evidence is There to….?
  • How Would You Compare (or Contrast)….?
  • Explain How….?

Application-based Questions

At this stage, content writers are probably nodding their heads in agreement, as this is a similar process that copywriters go through when cultivating relevant and engaging content angles. This includes application-based questions, which encourage us to apply our newly acquired knowledge and understanding in increasingly new and diverse ways. For example:

  • What Examples Are There of….?
  • How Would You Showcase Your Understanding of….?
  • How Would You Approach….?
  • What Would Happen if….?

Analysis-based Questions

When it comes to analysis-based questions, the goal is to break down data and compartmentalize information to explore underlying motives or causes. This also creates more open and thoughtful mind-sets, which enable you to think about things in an entirely different light. Here are some examples:

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  • How Would You Classify….?
  • What Inference Can You Make From….?
  • How Would You Categorize….?
  • Can You Identify….?

Evaluation-based Questions

Evaluation-based questions help you to quantify your findings and judgments, by forcing you to present arguments and defend preconceived opinions. This is also a crucial part of the process when appraising the validity of potential solutions, as you compare them against others to make an informed decision:

  • Evaluate the Contribution of …. to ….?
  • Which to Think is Better….?
  • What is the Value or Importance of….?

Creation and Synthesis-based Questions

To complete the process, there is a need to pose questions which compile the insight that you have garnered in unique and interesting ways. This can involve combining elements in new patterns or sequences, as you strive to create innovative but effective ways of completing tasks. For example:

  • What Would Happen if….?
  • Can You Propose an Alternative Interpretation for….?
  • Could We Try….?

This structured approach reflects the cognitive process that drives critical thinking, and it can become ingrained in your psyche over a period of time. More specifically, these questions will continue to challenge traditional thought processes and enable you to conceive new solutions to personal and professional relations.

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Featured photo credit: Macdongtran / Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Fast Company: These Are The Biggest Skills That New Graduates Lack
[2] Open Educational Resources of UCD Teaching and Learning, University College Dublin: How to Ask Questions that Prompt Critical Thinking

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

    If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

    The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

    Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

    There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

    Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

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    Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

    Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

    Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

    • The idea for Google -Larry Page
    • Alternating current generator -Tesla
    • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
    • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
    • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

    …and many, many more.

    Fact #4: Premonition dreams

    There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

    You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

    • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
    • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
    • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
    • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

    Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

    Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

    Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

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    Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

    In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

    Fact #7: Sexual dreams

    The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

    Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

      Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

      Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

      • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
      • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
      • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

      Fact #9: Dream drug

      There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

      Fact #10 Dream-catcher

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        The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

        Fact #11: Increased brain activity

        You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

        Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

        As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

        Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

        In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

        Fact #13: Pets dream too

          Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

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          Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

          Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

          Fact #15: Blind people dream too

          Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

          Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

            It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

            Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

            Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

            Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

            You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

            Fact #19: Gender differences

            Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

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            Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

            As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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