Critical Thinking and Cognitive Bias

Jeffrey Maynes


Teaching critical thinking skill is a central pedagogical aim in many courses. These skills, it is hoped, will be both portable (applicable in a wide range of contexts) and durable (not forgotten quickly). Yet, both of these virtues are challenged by pervasive and potent cognitive biases, such as motivated reasoning, false consensus bias and hindsight bias. In this paper, I argue that a focus on the development of metacognitive skill shows promise as a means to inculcate debiasing habits in students. Such habits will help students become more critical reasoners. I close with suggestions for implementing this strategy.


Critical Thinking; Reasoning; Metacognition

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ISSN: 0824-2577