War and accumulated aggression

More than a year after the start of the active phase of the war, when the rage towards the enemy reached its peak, she, predictably, began to look for ways out. It is not so easy to reach the Russians, and the accumulated fatigue and destructiveness have not disappeared anywhere.

Therefore, today the focus has shifted from hatred of the Russians to the struggle of Ukrainians with each other. This is due to the effect of sublimation, when, not having the physical ability to repay the offender, a person "merges" the negative onto the one who is nearby in order to somehow get rid of destructive emotions.

That is why today any informational occasion causes absolutely Spanish passions and anger in us. Starting from the non-authenticity of the documents of the unfortunate psychologist Spartak Saturday to the creation of women's compartment cars in trains. Ukrainians react violently, enter into aggressive polemics with each other, and then another commentator who does not agree with our opinion becomes the "object of anger".

The trouble is that people at this stage of emotional laxity are easily manipulated. This is what different authors do both for domestic political stories and for Russian propaganda stuffing. Ukrainians read the news, experience a strong emotion, and away we go... Few of us will understand the nuances and details, and try to find out in general - is it not a fake? The roots of this problem, of course, are in critical thinking. Rather, in its absence in society.

Magical thinking instead of rational

According to a USAID-INTERNEWS survey, almost 60% of Ukrainians completely trust their favorite/usual means of obtaining information and do not check it for veracity.

But in vain. According to statistics, 75% of Ukrainians surveyed are aware of the existence of fake news. However, only 11% were able to distinguish fakes from real events when they were asked to do so. Although most people are sincerely convinced that they definitely know how to distinguish such content.

However, in practice, when people were asked how they choose which source to trust, the majority were guided in their choice not by facts, but simply by their intuition. This phenomenon is called "magic thinking". When a person, not being able to "load" the brain with thinking, is guided in life by his feelings, believing in them as in truth.

Let's see where this "intuition" comes from.

Two opinions: mine and wrong

Remember a familiar situation for everyone: school, literature lesson. You must write an essay on the topic: "What did the author want to tell us with his book?". Most, unfortunately, do not read fiction at all, and readers like to peep into an anthology or Wikipedia. There you will find out in a couple of seconds what the author meant, write it into your work and get a good grade. The problem is that the opinion you express is not yours.

And the teacher who will evaluate your work is also under the pressure of this opinion formed by others. When the student has read the work and shares his own impression of it, he may receive condemnation or even an underestimation if his opinion is very different from the thought in the anthology.

As a result, since childhood, we have formed an attitude: in order to have a good assessment (of society and people), you need to adapt to the generally accepted opinion, and, perhaps, even lie. Your opinion is harmful and dangerous, it is better not to put it on display. As a result, we also have a distorted understanding of intuition. For us, it has become a subconscious search for the "right" option that is acceptable to society.

Self-censorship and the desire to meet other people's expectations turns on our reptilian part of the brain. According to Paul McLean, this is the part of the human brain that is responsible for our biological survival as a species. She is looking for the simplest option of all proposed, which will help us adapt and survive in society.

Life on autopilot

That is, most of us, especially in difficult times, tend to live "on the machine", along the path of the slightest resistance. This is called autopilot mode, a term from behavioral economics, a branch of research that studies the influence of social and emotional factors on human behavior.

A pilot is when I myself come up with, analyze and make decisions. And I myself am responsible for them. Autopilot - when I rely on some ready-made behavior strategies. And, of course, in my own mistakes, in this case, it’s not my fault, but the one who was the first to broadcast this opinion “to the masses”. Our population often has a tendency to rely specifically on the autopilot model. Due to this, manipulations appear that dominate society.

Questions without a correct answer

What needs to be done so that people have critical thinking? NUS is a new Ukrainian school with an innovative approach to teaching children, which actively embodies the principle of critical thinking in education from the first grades, when the child's personality is just beginning to form. Critical thinking is seen as one of the important competencies for a successful future.

The goal of this approach at NUS is to educate a new generation of innovators and citizens who are able to make responsible decisions, guided not by emotions, but by facts and considering the problem from different angles.

We at the Unicorn School , as well as other progressive schools of the future, are integrating things related to thinking directly into the curriculum itself. How exactly? The best way to develop critical thinking is a student-centered approach to learning and the teacher should only be the accompanying mentor.

Its task is to teach the child to think without imposing his own opinion. To do this, the child needs to ask questions to which he himself must seek the answer. There are no wrong answers in this concept. There is only the opinion of the child, which must be supported by certain facts and clearly argued. This is the basis of critical thinking and an incentive for the development of a full-fledged personality, which is not affected by suggestion or public manipulation of information.

Subjectivity of assessments. A genius with a three in the test

We believe that in the future every school in Ukraine will lay this foundation for critical thinking and stand on the premise that any free thought is useful if it has real arguments and grounds. Blind reference to the authorities, which the Soviet teaching methods sinned, is a thing of the past. Today, we see more and more that even opinion leaders and gurus can be wrong about something, because, after all, they are ordinary people.

And some of the great authorities of mankind, who changed the course of world history, were not just wrong, but even were "twins". A vivid and famous example is Albert Einstein, the author of the theory of relativity. Physics before and after Einstein are two completely different physics. However, the genius himself and the future Nobel laureate, while studying at school, was skeptical about the then approaches to teaching and preferred self-education. He did not pass his first entrance exams at all, having received insufficient marks in biology and French, which once again proves the subjectivity of school approaches to assessing children's knowledge.

Today, the development of critical thinking is partly practiced in universities, but we believe that sooner or later, school education will also be transformed and will pump this skill from the first grade.

How to develop critical thinking in yourself?

If you are already an adult and mature person who did not lay the foundations of critical thinking in childhood, do not be upset. You can always "upgrade" your brain yourself and acquire this skill. First, learn media literacy. Today, there are many courses, including free ones, that will help you plunge into the world of fact-checking and checking media messages.

Secondly, before spreading any information or engaging in a heated emotional discussion, ask yourself the question: am I 100% sure of this? Can this medal have another side? Thirdly, think about what goal you are pursuing when you take the side of the prosecution or vice versa a lawyer.

If objectively you want to “pour out” your negativity, then maybe it’s better to go in for sports or devote time to a hobby than to spread dirt on the network and generate a new wave of hate? Fourth, who can benefit from this? Ukrainians? Maybe an enemy?

And in the end, we recommend that you pay attention to these three books, they will help you develop critical thinking:

"Social Influence"

The book was written by two scientists: Stanford University professor Philip Zimbardo and Markus Leipe (Adelphi University). It will help to find out the most common "hooks" that can pick up our attention and, as a result, influence behavior. It will be easier for you to recognize and counteract manipulations, as well as to distinguish between propaganda and provocations in the media sphere.

"Think slow... decide fast"

This best-selling book was written by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and professor at Princeton University (USA), who has won an award for "the application of psychological methodology to the study of human judgment and decision making."

In the book, Kahneman identifies two main systems in the human psyche. The first perfectly performs its functions throughout ordinary life, simplifying our understanding of reality. However, it has its own distortions and systematic errors. If something seems familiar to us, then the person assumes that it is correct. The second system is turned on for complex issues and atypical situations that require a person to have the same critical thinking skills.

"New Behavioral Economics"

This is a popular science book by American economist Richard Thaler, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Richard Thaler, thoroughly studied the emotions that control a person, and the difficulties faced in making decisions. In his book, Thaler shares the results of his research and shows how to create a product or service that will be trusted based on the psychology of influence. Accordingly, you will better understand situations when such techniques are used on you.

Pump up your critical thinking and you will notice how life becomes more conscious, and the usual "triggers" and newsbreaks no longer cause you such emotions as before!