Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Decision Making

Although many believe that decision-making is the most critical element in critical and 'breakthrough' thinking, we often do not require decision analysis as part of the formal education of our children. It is easy enough to allow children to participate in the decision making process that involves the whole family, but we take decision analysis onto a higher level when we challenge how they arrive at their decisions, we ask them to provide evidence for their decisions, work with them to examine their assumptions.

In the fmri below, the green areas are areas that are activated with associational thinking and causal judgments, and the red areas are activated only with causal judgment (L DLPFC & R precuneus). These areas are also important for other cognitive control and decision making tasks, including the making of perceptual decisions and self-reflection.

We've listed some good critical thinking / decision making links below. This past week, received our packet of materials from the Future Problem Solving Program here, and it looks like a lot of good practice for our kids. This years topics are: problems relating to climate control, health care access, and genetic engineering of food - fairly ambitious topics, considering it begins with 4th graders.

As parents, we should be conscious of the need to give our children practice with analysis of complicated issues, and practice at decision making under uncertain information. As a warm-up, we're having our kids read blogs offering very different opinions in addition to op-ed pieces. It is easier to someone else's thinking and bias before tackling your own.

Causal Reasoning & fMRI
Causal Reasoning in Preschool
How Successful People Make Big Decisions-FORTUNE
The Critical Thinking Community
Teaching Thinking Skills
Decision Making/Problem Solving With Teens
Critical Thinking For Political Science Students

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