How to Think Critically like a Psychologist?
Psychologists, when studying about behaviors and mental processes, deliberately ask critical questions. They typically form their questions based on five different guidelines.
- Precision. Psychologists identify the boundaries of a concept. What makes it different from all other existing and identified behaviors and mental processes?
- Motivation. Psychologists may be drawn to a specific subject of study because of personal or social reasons. But, psychologists mindfully attempt to frame their questions, and consequently align their perspectives on the most regarded, least subjective, and most unbiased intent - curiosity.
- Information. Psychologists try to gather as many evidences as they can to help them have a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of their subject.
- Counteraction. Psychologists attempt to strengthen the value of existing evidences by attacking and refuting their own drafted conclusions. After they gather information that support their hypotheses, they then gather information against their hypotheses.
- Redefinition. Psychologists then synthesize and evaluate the gathered data for or against their hypotheses and thus redefine the concept or idea about the subject in a more concrete and objective way.
A student of Psychology can use these guidelines to ensure better success in studying about a specific behavior. For example, your subject is about happiness. Using the guidelines above, you may ask the following questions: "What do you mean exactly by happiness?", "What could potentially cause happiness?", "Are there existing evidences confirming these potential factors?", "Are there any other reasons why these factors lead to happiness?", "Is there another way to explain happiness"?, "Can happiness be considered a specific behavior or mental process, or is it just one of the causes of another behavior or mental process?"
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