Friday, January 28, 2022

Aaron Rodgers drops the ball on critical thinking – with a little practice you can do better

It was hard to miss the news about Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers testing positive for COVID-19 on Nov. Like most people currently catching – and dying from – the coronavirus, he was unconvinced.

Days after his diagnosis, Rodgers took to the airwaves to offer up a smorgasbord of pandemic misinformation and conspiracy theories in defense of his decision to drop the COVID-19 vaccine.

After listening to several interviews with Rodgers, I found it to be entirely inferred that he began his remarks by saying, “I’m not, you know, some kind of anti-wax, flat – Earth.”

But as someone who researches how people think and make decisions, this is what Rodgers went on to say, which led to my inclination: “I am someone who is a critical thinker.”

critical thinker? The fact is, research on the link between critical thinking ability and behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic suggests Rodgers is just the opposite.

for scientists like me Whose job it is to find out how people instinctively make choices, and then to help them improve, critical thinking isn’t just a slogan used to score points. It is not some subsequent justification that one does to convince others – or oneself – that their opinion or behavior is correct.

Instead, critical thinking is a pattern of behavior that precedes one’s decision-making, such as coming to the conclusion that something is risky. Similarly, critical thinking precedes decision making, such as choosing to avoid something that is too risky for comfort.

Here’s what it really takes to be a critical thinker.

Three Components of Critical Thinking

As a precursor to sound decisions and decisions, critical thinking consists of three related elements that are accessible to almost anyone.

First, critical thinking means being able to recognize that there are situations where you have to base your instinctive reactions on what is happening around you, based on feelings like fear and desire, balanced with the need for a heavy psychological lift. should do. In these cases, it’s important to pay attention to conflicting objectives and make tough trade-offs.

Take the pandemic, which has gone into overtime due to the arrival of new variants like Omicron. You may have a strong desire to live your “normal” life as you knew it before the outbreak of COVID-19; Plus, you probably want to keep the people around you safe and secure. Knowing where to draw the line between personal comfort and the well-being of those around you can mean putting your emotions aside and diving into the data to better understand the broader consequences of the actions you want.

Second, critical thinking means following some basic principles as you search for and use information. You should be open to and consider more than one solution to a problem, without ignoring or dismissing evidence that goes against your initial beliefs. And you must be willing to change your thoughts and behavior in response to new information or insights.

In the end, critical thinking means recognizing when you are out of your depth and then seeking legitimate experts to help. In other words, critical thinkers understand when it is time to outsource critical thinking to others.

Consulting with people with additional expertise can be an important part of critical thinking.
Jorge Lemus/Nurphoto via Getty Images

But it raises an important question: How do you find out who is a real expert? Critical thinkers do not answer this question simply by looking at one’s stature or reputation. They also assess the behavior of potential experts in relation to the first two elements of critical thinking. How well is an expert at balancing instinct with the need for more in-depth analysis? And does the specialist follow the basic principles that govern the discovery and use of information?

Everyone loses when critical thinking is sidelined

Consider the results of a recent study, during which scientists around the world agree that this is a serious public health crisis. In it, my colleagues and I found that people who score high on a large scale in the US use COVID-19 to measure critical thinking ability to pose a real and significant risk to public health. They also relied more heavily on legitimate public health experts, and – importantly – behaved in a way that is consistent with pandemic risk management strategies recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Judging by his behavior and statements, Aaron Rodgers would not have joined the group. Indeed, Rodgers’ own observations suggest that he traversed his way through the three elements of critical thinking.

Despite his claim that his decision to go without vaccination involved “a lot of time, energy, and research”, it seems he did not understand the trade-off between the extremely slim chance of getting sick from one of the available vaccines and Nor weighed. From COVID-19 – Very high chance of getting sick or making others sick.

And historically, Rodgers hasn’t shied away from dismissing viewpoints that are contrary to his own. While boasting about his COVID-19 infection, Rodgers confessed as much when he said, “I march to the beat of my drum.”

Lastly, when it comes to delegating critical thinking to others, its success rate is poor. On COVID-19, he compared the real medical experts to the advice of pseudo-experts like Joe Rogan and chose to subject himself to a dangerous drug, ivermectin, rather than a safe and effective vaccine.

Rodgers walks onto the field after being out of reach of football
Rodgers stumbled upon critical thinking when he ignored advice from people who do not have deep knowledge about coronavirus prevention and treatment.
Grant Halverson/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers is far from alone when it comes to bad critical thinking. And, to make matters worse, the implications of non-critical thinking extend well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indeed, while the poster child for the absence of critical thinking is the political divide in the US from Main Street America to the US Capitol, I would argue that nothing says My Way or Highway quite like the inflexible tribalism that has infected inequality and climate change. Important policy issues ranging from guns and health care. Balancing fast-paced emotions with a slow pace of analysis, a willingness to change your mind and compromise, and the courage to admit that you are not an expert—and to trust those who are—in politics today. They seem as far away as they were in decades.

Critical Thinking Training Camp

On the bright side, and with a little practice, people can learn to think critically. Unlike other tasks that require highly specialized skills — such as playing the position of quarterback in the NFL — critical thinking is within reach of almost anyone willing to put in the reps.

For example, studies show that critical thinking can be activated the moment some decision or choice needs to be made. Researchers also know that the basic principles of critical thinking can be taught to young children and adolescents. And, for complex decisions and choices, people can take advantage of decision-support tools that help them clarify their objectives, consider relevant information, evaluate a wide range of options, and choose one possibility over another. Helps to understand upcoming agreements.

Applying the skill of critical thinking ultimately requires another important component, and it simply cannot be taught: courage. It takes courage to break away from your close views and, especially, from the relative sanctuary offered by your social or political circle. And it takes courage to change your mind and behavior in public.

Rodgers initiates a pass by approaching an opposing player.
Being a critical thinker takes courage, especially when you can get hit for it.
Dylan Buell/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

But there is a bright side here as well. Changing your mind and behavior just because you thought critically about something doesn’t mean that your earlier opinion and behavior was a mistake. On the contrary, it is a public demonstration that you have learned something important and new. And he deserves at least as much success, respect, and praise on the frozen tundra of Rodgers’ home turf in Green Bay.

[You’re smart and curious about the world. So are The Conversation’s authors and editors. You can read us daily by subscribing to our newsletter.]

This article is republished from – The Conversation – Read the – original article.

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