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Alex Fradera 2017-7-29

Critical thinking skills are more important than IQ for making good decisions in life
By Alex Fradera
陈明 翻译


To lead a good life, we need to make good decisions: manage our health and financial affairs, invest in appropriate relationships, and avoid serious lapses like falling for online scams. What equips us to do this? One candidate is IQ: after all, people who score higher on intelligence tests tend to go on to do better academically and in their careers. But many of us know intellectual titans who still make grave errors of judgment in their lives. Book-smart doesn’t necessarily make you life-smart, and a new article in the journal Thinking Skills and Creativity examines the utility of IQ in navigating existence, and how another mental ability may put it in the shade.

为了过上好的生活,我们需要做出好的决定:管理我们的健康和财务,投资于适当的关系,避免严重的失误,比如网上诈骗。什么能够让我们胜任这些事情呢?其中的一个选择是智商:毕竟,智力测验得分较高的人往往在学业上和事业上都表现得更好。但我们中许多人都知道那些 知识巨人仍然会在判断中犯下严重错误。书呆子并不一定会让你的生活变得聪明,而在《思想技能与创造力》杂志上的一篇新文章则考察了智商在生活中的作用,以及另一种心智能力如何 让其黯然失色的。

Whereas IQ is – crudely speaking – a measure of the mental horsepower we have for handling abstract content, some researchers say that “critical thinking” – the ability to make judgments dispassionately without jumping to false conclusions – is a separate ability. To find out if critical thinking ability might be important for real-life outcomes, perhaps even more than IQ, Heather Butler of California State University and her colleagues asked 244 participants – a mix of students and adults recruited online – to complete tests, of their IQ and critical thinking skills.

大致来说,鉴于智商是衡量我们处理抽象内容的心理能力,一些研究人员说,不动声色的做出判断而又不做出错误结论,“批判性思维”能力是一种独立的能力。 对于现实生活的影响,批判性思维能力是否也可能是重要的?甚至也许比智商?为了回答以上问题,加利福尼亚州立大学的Heather Butler和她的同事要求244名被试——学生和成人在线招募的混合体——完成有关他们的智商和批判性思维技能的测试。

The intelligence test was fairly standard and covered memory, visual processing and quantitative reasoning. The critical thinking assessment involved participants evaluating courses of action in hypothetical scenarios and also considering the relevance of contextual information that could have a bearing on the decisions.


For example, a typical critical thinking question might require participants to explain whether they would want preschool to be mandatory for all children if research had shown that kids who attend preschool are more likely to excel at school (note this specific question wasn’t used in the test). Successful critical thinking would include recognising that correlation is not causation and reflecting on other possible explanations, and rating as valuable further information such as the income disparity between parents who send their children to preschool and other parents.

例如,一个典型的批判性思维的问题可能需要参与者解释他们是否希望幼儿园强制所有的孩子入园,如果有研究表明孩子们入园的幼儿在学校更出类拔萃(请注意,这个特定的问题没有在测试中使用)。成功的批判性思维包括认识到相关性不是因果关系, 以及考虑到其他可能的解释,并评估有价值的进一步信息,例如,送子女送到幼儿园的父母与其他父母之间的收入差距。

As per previous research, critical thinking correlated with IQ moderately (.38), suggesting some overlap but that each test was measuring something distinct.


The researchers were especially interested in how these measures correlated with scores on an inventory of real-world outcomes, on which participants indicated whether they had experienced events ranging from the mildly bad (e.g. fined late fees for a video rental) to the more severe (e.g. acquiring a sexually transmitted disease). The avoidance of these kinds of experiences gives an indirect measure of wise, effective decision making, and the data showed higher IQ individuals did do better. However, high critical thinking was even more strongly associated with these real-world outcomes (even after factoring out IQ). So it’s possible to have a modest IQ and navigate life wisely, or to have a high IQ and make clangers that leave your peers shaking their heads. It’s a question of critical thinking.

研究人员对这些措施如何与现实结果清单中的分数相关联特别感兴趣,在测试中参与者们说明了他们是否经历过从轻度(如补缴租用录像带的滞纳金)到的更严重的(如得了性传播疾病) 不良事件。避免这些事情的经验,给出了间接测量明智的、有效的决策,而且数据显示,高智商的人确实做得更好。然而,高批判性思维甚至与这些真实世界的结果有这密切的相关性(甚至在 扣除了智商因素之后)。所以,中等的智商和明智的生活是可能的,或者高智商并失礼的让以的同伴摇头。这是一个批判性思维的问题。

And that’s something that can be worked on. Critical thinking isn’t about mental resources so much as a way of looking at the world and a tool-kit to use at the relevant moments. But unfortunately, as a society, we don’t give enough attention to how to foster these skills. Some researchers are very pessimistic about the benefits of formal education for critical thinking, and although a recent meta-analysis has since suggested that attending college produces improvements in critical thinking, it could not identify where the skills were coming from. It should be possible to design better ways to impart and hone these skills, skills critical for the decisions that make up the stuff of our lives.

这是可以解决的问题。批判性思维不是心智资源,而是一种看待世界的方式,同时也是在相关时刻使用的工具包。但不幸的是,作为一个社会, 我们对如何培养这些技能没有给予足够的重视。就正规教育中的批判性思维的好处而言,一些研究人员对 此悲观,尽管最近的一项 元分析表明,大学生的的批判性思维能力有所改善,但不能确定这些技能来自何处。设计出更好的方法来传授和磨练这些技能是可能的, 这些技能对于构成我们生活中的东西的决定至关重要。

papaer:Predicting Real-World Outcomes: Critical Thinking Ability is a Better Predictor of Life Decisions than Intelligence


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