The Power of Human Brain: Critical Thinking vs Impulsiveness
Have you ever been in a situation where you are asked to decide upon something you think aren’t easy or let’s say, something critical.
In this situation, of course, you will use your critical thinking and let your metacognition to do the work for you, so that, the results of your decision will be something that could satisfy and benefit not just you, but other people as well.
However, when there’s a call for immediate decision, sometimes, people aren’t using their critical thinking to decide. When they feel an adrenaline gushing through their system, being critical is disregarded and switch into making decision in an impulsive manner. That shouldn’t be the case, though. When there’s a need for an instant decision, it’s still better to think more and more even in a short period of time.
But, is it actually possible to think critically in a short period of time? How could it be possible when being critical requires a lot of time to process, analyze and judge the information?
Honestly, it’s not easy to do so, but it is possible. Nothing is impossible to our brain since it is very powerful than what we are expecting.
Some people think that human brain is not that powerful enough compared to a computer or an artificial intelligence. We may not be a fast learner than a robot, but we can do more than them. That’s why, being a critical thinker doesn’t only apply to those who have lots of time to process more information and create a substantial and beneficial judgment. We can actually train our brain to process information faster, think beyond our thinking, analyze everything, and create something based on what we’ve learned.
I know, some of you are familiar with Benjamin Bloom who introduced the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives that is used in the learning process especially in school, though it is also applies in the real life situation outside the four corners of the classroom. He and his collaborators worked on making this hierarchical model to elaborate the learning process, and how human thinking skills work based on the higher or lower thinking skills we have.
The Bloom’s Taxonomy is widely used in education because of how clear and effective the categories are in terms of understanding and evaluating the learning development of a learner. However, a group of cognitive psychologist and other experts revised the old taxonomy because according to them, there’s a much more deserving thinking skills to be on top of the hierarchy. And aside from that, the name of each levels are revised into a verb form, and not the typical noun form.
Before, the original taxonomy are consists of (arranged from lower to higher order thinking skills):
This is more on recalling or memorizing the factual knowledge we’ve gained without thinking beyond that. It is just more on reading and absorbing an information without understanding it further.
Of course, when we say comprehension, it is the process where we are required to understand the information presented to us. Just like when reading a book, what’s written on it would be nonsense if we don’t understand the context. That is why, comprehension is really important, and must be mastered to go through the succeeding thinking levels.
After comprehending the knowledge or information we gained, we are ready to apply or relate it to real life situation, just like in a Mathematics class, when the students learned the formula to solve a problem, they are now asked to do a seatwork requiring them to apply the what they’ve learned.
In this level, analysis is the process of breaking down the elements of an information to further understand it. Just like how the detectives do, they will separate each information they have gathered to look for a loophole and to further understand the whole situation.
Contradicting how analysis is done, when we say synthesis, it is the process of putting the elements together to come up with a certain conclusion. This is done to understand the whole thing, and to prepare ourselves for proper judgement.
After the synthesis, evaluation will be made to come up with an accurate judgment. This is where we arrive in creating a valuable and smart decision because after going through the previous levels, we are now intelligent enough to think of a great judgment or let’s say, a solution to our problems.
In this old taxonomy, evaluation or critical thinking is considered as the most complex thinking skill, but in the revised taxonomy it is no longer the highest level in the hierarchy.
In the revised taxonomy, the levels are categorized using verbs or action words. This is intended to give a clear explanation on how thinking skills is done or used.
In this new taxonomy, it consists of:
It is almost identical to the lowest level of thinking skill in the old taxonomy as they were both emphasizing the process of remembering, recalling or memorizing an information.
Similar to comprehension, understanding is the next level of the thinking process which is not just about looking at the context, but rather thinking to further understand it.
Similar to application, applying the knowledge we’ve gained will help us to further comprehend it, and to be practical enough when a certain situation requires us to respond by using what we’ve learned.
Just like analysis, we are breaking down the elements of an information to have a clear view about what we are actually learning about.
Identical to evaluation, evaluate means making the right judgment about the knowledge we gained.
In this revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, creating is the highest and most complex thinking skill which requires us to create something innovative based on what we have learned. It is more than applying the knowledge we gained, but rather creating something original and unique out of the information we know. Critical thinking and creative skills are very important here to come up with the best output. In this level of thinking skill, it is not just about the abstract knowledge we know, we are now required to use it and create something new.
So, what’s exactly my purpose why I explained those levels of thinking skills in Bloom’s Taxonomy?
My purpose is to let you know that there’s no room for impulsive decision since our brain is too powerful for that. Being impulsive seems like insulting our brain’s ability to process an information in an intelligent and logical way. Time might be one of the factors that affect our ability to think critically, but we should keep in our mind also that there’s always a room for improvement, to improve our critical thinking skill and have the ability to think and decide faster based on the allotted time we have.
Being a critical thinker and a great decision maker are like superpowers that will help us to get rid of life problems. It will save our time and energy, and use it to a more valuable thing rather than being depressed with how can we be able to solve such problems. If we are a critical thinker, we will never be jailed into something depressing, because we always have a solution in mind that we can use as a key to be free from being a prisoner of stress and problems.
Aside from that, using our higher order thinking skills, we are powerful enough to not be deceived by anyone. We will be free from illusion and fake things because we are thinking in a way that we are always seeking for the truth, and lies will never get in our way.
My knowledge about Bloom’s Taxonomy is based on what I’ve learned when I was in first year college and in the previous semester now that I'm in my 2nd year journey, particularly in the subjects included in professional education. If I’m not mistaken, I learned those concepts in:
Technology for Teaching and Learning 1
Physical Activities, Training and Fitness 1
Facilitating Learner-Centered Teaching
Assessment in Learning 1
Those are course subjects where I’ve learned the concept of Bloom’s Taxonomy, but if you want to read more about it, you can visit this article: Bloom’s Taxonomy by Patricia Armstrong
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Date Published: December 30, 2021
Lead Image and Gif: Originally edited by me using Canva