critical thinking Articles

In Defense of Lucky Underpants: making use of the placebo effect

Andrew Badham - 2018-06-01 10:51:37

The Placebo Effect is certainly one of life’s stranger quirks. The fact that you can take a sugar pill and feel better simply because you thought you would is strange to most of us, and yet, it gets stranger still. Apparently, even if you know you’re receiving a placebo, you will experience similar effects to if you had been deceived into thinking it was real. A research article published in December 2017 in the concisely named Journal, Pain, detailed this phenomenon. The research... Read more

Devil's Advocate

Andrew Badham - 2018-04-17 13:55:09

There’s a game I like to play with my classes. It’s based on the concept of playing Devil’s Advocate. Simply put, it’s all about taking the opposing view of an argument even if you don’t really agree with it. First off, we try to find a couple of controversial topics, ones that really split the room, but hopefully, don’t elicit too much of an emotional response. A little bit of controversy ups the engagement level, but too much spirals the class into emotio... Read more

Ideological Inoculation

Andrew Badham - 2018-04-17 12:02:40

  When I was still in school, I remember being taken on a field trip to the Cradle of Humankind, to Maropeng. We were taken through the Sterkfontein caves to see the dig sites where archaeological treasures such as Mrs Ples were found, and then through the educational centre not far from that. In the educational centre, we were treated to the sight of the fossil remains of long extinct rodents, sabre-toothed cats, and of course, early hominids. It is impossible to discuss hominids witho... Read more

Logical Fallacies - A short List

Andrew Badham - 2018-04-17 11:40:27

Logical fallacies are mistakes in the way that we or other people construct their arguments. If you familiarise yourself with these, you will be better able to see when you or someone else is making sense. False CauseBasically, the reason something is happening is not necessarily what it appears to be. We presume that a relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other. One subset of this fallacy is the assumption that correlation proves causation. e.g. You come down with... Read more

Cognitive Biases - A Small List

Andrew Badham - 2018-04-17 09:07:55

Cognitive biases are shortcuts in our thinking which often get in the way of us understanding the world around us. Here is a list of some of the more common ones, so you can make yourself aware of your own biases Confirmation and Belief BiasWhen we already believe something to be true, we will both unconsciously look for evidence that supports that belief, and we will tend to place a higher weighting on that evidence. If evidence contradicts what we already believe, we will ignore it or simpl... Read more

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