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Posts Tagged ‘heuristics and biases’

Thinking about the last post got me wondering if anyone besides myself regularly covers forms of irrationality that are studied in the social sciences in their Critical Thinking or Informal Logic classes.  It seems to me to be important for students to know about things like the endowment effect, the bandwagon effect, confirmation bias, framing problems, and groupthink (among others).  These irrational tendencies in persons and others like them certainly present obstacles to critical thinking that (we hope) can be mitigated to at least some degree by the concepts and techniques we teach.  And yet there’s not exactly a huge volume of literature bringing together critical thinking and the empirical study of phenomena like these.

What place, if any, does teaching about the empirical study of irrationality have in your overall pedagogy? Do you think it should have a place in the study of critical thinking, or should we be content to let the scientists work on it? Is it even reasonable to think that training in critical thinking help prevent these kinds of irrationality? If you do include presentations about the forms of irrationality studied by psychology, economics, &c., how do you do it?

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