# Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

By Diane F. Halpern | Go to book overview
able that can be combined with base rates so that a more accurate prediction can be made?3. Which Thinking Skill or Skills Will Get You to Your Goal? Numerous thinking skills have been presented for use when working with probabilistic events. One of the most useful is drawing a tree diagram complete with probability values on each branch. This method allows you to "see" and objectively compute the likelihood of multiple outcomes. When you are combining information with base-rate information, it is important to form the appropriate ratios so as to avoid the problem of base-rate neglect. Other skills require recognition of the type of error that frequently occurs (e.g., conjunction error, failure to consider cumulative risks) and use of the "or" and "and" rules to improve probabilistic decision making.Because there are so few things in life that are known with certainty, the skills for understanding and using probabilities should be used frequently. After reading this chapter, you should be able to:
 • Compute expected values in situations with known probabilities. • Recognize when regression to the mean is operating and adjust predictions to take this phenomenon into account. • Use the "and rule" to avoid conjunction errors. • Use the "or rule" to calculate cumulative probabilities. • Recognize and avoid gambler's fallacy. • Utilize base rates when making predictions. • Use tree diagrams as a decision-making aid in probabilistic situations. • Adjust risk assessments to account for the cumulative nature of probabilistic events. • Understand the differences between mean and median. • Avoid overconfidence in uncertain situations. • Understand the limits of extrapolation. • Use probability judgments to improve decision making. • Consider indicators like historical data, risks associated with different parts of a decision, and analogies when dealing with unknown risks.
4. Have You Reached Your Goal? The reason for considering probabilities is to quantify and reduce uncertainty. You will have reached your goal when you can attach more accurate probability values to uncertain events.
CHAPTER SUMMARY
 1 Because few things are known with certainty, probability plays a crucial role in many aspects of our lives. 2 Probability is defined as the number of ways a particular outcome (what we call a success) can occur divided by the number of possible outcomes (when all outcomes are equally likely). It is also used to indicated degrees of belief in the likelihood of events with unknown frequencies and previous frequency of occurrence. 3 In general, people tend to be more confident about uncertain events than the objective probability values allow. 4 Mathematically equivalent changes in the way probability information is presented can lead to dramatic changes in the way it is interpreted. 5 Tree diagrams can be used to compute probabilities when there are multiple events (e.g., two or more flips of a coin). When the events are independent, the

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Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking

• Title Page iii
• Contents vii
• Preface xi
• Acknowledgments xiii
• Acknowledgments for the First Edition xiii
• 1 - Thinking: an Introduction 1
• Chapter Summary 32
• 2 - Memory: The Acquisition Retention, and Retrieval of Knowledge 36
• Chapter Summary 70
• 3 - The Relationship Between Thought and Language 75
• Chapter Summary 115
• 4 - Reasoning: Drawing Deductively Valid Conclusions 118
• Chapter Summary 162
• 5 - Analyzing Arguments 167
• Chapter Summary 207
• 6 - Thinking as Hypothesis Testing 212
• Chapter Summary 237
• 7 - Likelihood and Uncertainty: Understanding Probabilities 241
• Chapter Summary 277
• 8 - Decision Making 281
• Chapter Summary 313
• 9 - Development of Problem-Solving Skills 317
• Chapter Summary 360
• 10 - Creativethinking 364
• Chapter Summary 389
• 11 - The Last Word 393
• References 395
• Author Index 409
• Subject Index 415
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