On an everyday basis, critical thinking helps people feed their scientific attitude and encourage more innovative thinking by encouraging them to test ideas and hypotheses, look deeper into assumptions, analyze sources of evidence, get to know any hidden biases, and assess conclusions. In addition, critical thinking has helped people have a better understanding of themselves, their inner motivations, and their goals (Myers & DeWall, 2018). Through learning how to deduce information to find its essential aspects and apply them to everyday life, it becomes possible to change the current situation, promoting personal growth and overall happiness and well-being.
Everyday critical thinking can sometimes lead to a wrong conclusion because of the presence of bias, also referred to as the “I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon,” which is the likelihood to believe that an outcome has been foreseen. People have a tendency to be over-confident in their judgments, which is the result partly of bias and partly of the desire to find information that can confirm conclusions. This is a natural phenomenon because bias occurs as a result of experiences that people go through in their lives, shaping systems of values or beliefs that influence everyday decisions (Ruhl, 2020). Therefore, it is important to be aware of the presence of bias as a limitation of critical thinking to make reliable conclusions without the influence of personal feelings, judgments, or expectations.
The right hemisphere entails more holistic and coarse information processing, while the left hemisphere processing is associated with the analytic and fine-grained analysis of information. People with the ‘left brain’ tend to think in words, are prone to sequencing and linear thinking, excel in mathematics, check facts, and are logic-focused (Myers & DeWall, 2018). People with the ‘right brain’ are more prone to visualizing feelings, tend to have a vivid imagination, are engaged in holistic thinking, and are artistic and rhythm-focused (Pietrangelo, 2019). Personality can also be affected by the brain tendencies of individuals, with people in whom the right hemisphere is dominant being more open-minded and ‘chaotic.’ In contrast, those with left-brain tendencies are more focused and rational. This means that career choices and specialization can also change, with the unique patterns contributing to the choice of either artistic or more science-based professions.
Bottom-up processing starts with sensory information retrieval, drawing from the external environment, to build perceptions based on the input of such information. Top-down processing, on the other hand, entails the interpretation of incoming information based on lived experiences, knowledge, and expectation (Myers & DeWall, 2018). While the two types of processing do not occur simultaneously, they can sometimes be combined. For example, almost every person has stabbed their pinky toe on the corner of a sofa or other furniture. The pain receptors in the toe recognize the negative signals associated with stabbing the toe, sending signals to the brain. This is a part of bottom-up processing, representing the reception of pain signals into the brain. As a person has already experienced the negative sensation of stabbing the pinky toe, they are more likely to be now careful to avoid furniture corners because they do not wish to repeat the pain. This is an example of top-down processing at play. In this example, bottom-up processing happens first, while top-down occur consequently. The negative feeling linked to bottom-up processing, in this case, is stronger because the pain has been unpleasant, leading to avoidance.
Myers, D., G. & DeWall, C. N. (2021). Psychology (13th ed.). Macmillan Learning.
Pietrangelo, A. (2019). Left brain vs. right brain: What does this mean for me?. Web.
Ruhl, C. (2020). Implicit or unconscious bias. Web.