Tag Archives: decision making

CRITICAL THINKING!!!

Critical thinking is basically a doubting game where you question your fundamental principles or beliefs as being possibly wrong or you question the reliability or truthfulness of your authority figure or you question the truthfulness of your source of information or facts.

A successful result of your critical thinking may be finding a more plausible principle or belief which explains a circumstance(s) and/or event(s) or finding an authority figure(s) with a more plausible explanation of a circumstance(s) and/or event(s). Even a greater success may be finding a new set of reliable facts which then support your new principle or belief which explains the circumstance(s) and/or event(s) which preoccupies you. Sometimes your critical thinking will just reinforce your beliefs and they will remain largely unchanged even with new additional information which will often only reinforce what you already know or believe.

In subjective areas of inquiry belief usually overwhelms the facts which are often statistical norms with no clear cause and effect relationships and beliefs which themselves may be historical myths or lies presented as truthful or factual statements. Beliefs are harder to change than opinions and are often a barrier which impedes critical thinking about them since most humans are very defensive about their personal beliefs and seldom tolerate dissenting beliefs or views.

Polls are statistical norms which can be wrong or biased depending on the format of the questions asked and a sometimes inaccurate sampling of the questioned population. Thus the polls predicting a Hillary Clinton victory with an over 90% probability were inaccurate and failed to predict a Trump victory.

Statistics showing that on average women are paid less than men is flawed to a large extent because the statistics fail to take into consideration the equality of the work done. Women generally enter professions which are less well paid than other male dominated professions and a wage comparison is therefore inaccurate when statistical averages are compared between jobs. When women are compared to men salary wise in the nursing profession then the women do not make less than the men in similar job positions. Yes, women on average earn less than men but sex discrimination is not a totally valid reason for this assumption.

What may not be so obvious is that critical thinking in subjective areas of expertise is different than critical thinking in more objective and often mathematically based areas of expertise. In the latter thinking is guided by mathematical formulas and an analysis of observed facts about the natural world. You review old hypotheses and then make new hypotheses based new facts which sometimes don’t seem to fit the old hypotheses. The result is often a new hypothesis which explains the new facts and also the old facts of the historically incomplete hypothesis.

In physics relativity and quantum mechanics which theoretically explains the very very big and the very very small phenomenon are two distinct theories which don’t seem to overlap very well so it is like describing two different worlds of events which don’t seem to overlap very well. Thus there are theories for the very very small phenomenon and theories about the very very large phenomenon. It is almost a duality of worlds and not a single explanation or theory can be used for both.

In subjective areas of expertise an event(s) may be caused by two or more different causes depending on the time and circumstances. Thus a market crash or downturn may be caused by a liquidity crisis in money or it may be caused by overheated speculation in stocks where the current value of stocks is much too high when compared to the real value of the stock assets.

Things like unemployment figures, inflation rates, and interest rates can also affect stock prices as well as volatile international events such as borderline bankruptcies of relatively major economies of more than one country. Stocks go through boom and bust periods and very few are predicted ahead of time very accurately. Basically big money controls the stock market and it is more of an art than science in terms of predictability.

Critical thinking is supposedly observation, analysis, interpretation, reflection, evaluation, inference, explanation, problem solving, and decision making. What this doesn’t adequately cover is the inherent bias of opinions, beliefs, and unproven facts which populate the subjective world. The result is that some opinions, beliefs, and facts are false or untrue or partially false and drawing conclusions from them is filled with errors or falsity. Any inference, analysis, explanation, or decision making based on untrue information is bound to give untrue or false conclusions and critical thinking is useless.

Most important in any critical thinking is having very good definitions of the words which you are using. If your definition is vague, uncertain, or confusing then your critical thinking will be just as vague, uncertain, and confusing. Psychology is particularly filled with vague concepts or words such as aggression, open mindedness, hostility, tender-hearted, tough-minded, warmth, etc. which are verbosely used and attempts are made at explaining them with descriptions of examples of the words but no accurate true definitions exist which clarify their meaning. There is an old saying that if you can’t accurately define the word that you are using then you frankly don’t know what you are talking about or you are just beating around the bush.

In subjective areas of knowledge observation other than personal experience is often limited to authority figures who have processed gathered information and made their biased views known through articles, podcasts, videos, books, or personal presentations. It thus becomes important to assess the reputation and expertise, if any, of the authority figure which you choose to believe or trust.

What organizations or ideologies does that authority figure represent? What opinions do other opposing authorities have about that authority figure? Finally, how many years has the authority figure been prominently recognized in his or her field of interest? Yes, reputation, degree of trustworthiness, and length of experience are most important when observing and processing the views and facts presented by an authority figure who you hope to rely upon entirely or to some extent which is a wiser approach.

Analysis is breaking down a topic into it’s component parts or at least listing all the statements and facts about the topic and trying to eliminate any statements and facts which don’t seem to be relevant to the topic. What critical thinking omits is synthesis which is the process of rearranging statements and facts into a complete whole once irrelevant statements and facts have been eliminated and new relevant statements and facts have been included in the topic under consideration.

Interpretation is really just an explanation and it is really just providing enough statements and facts to make a communication understandable to an audience which you have chosen. Thus an explanation to a child is often overly simplified compared to an explanation to an adult and still more complex if it is an explanation to a professional group.

Explanation: n. communicating enough subsets to make a set(s) understandable

 

Reflection is merely seriously thinking again about your past experiences and accumulated knowledge to see if you can come up with some new insights or some new information which could be useful to the topic being considered.

Evaluation: n. judging the value of a subset(s) based on a subjective and/or objective (standard(s) and/or norm(s))

 

If you have any conscious standards and/or norms about the topic which you are considering then you will compare them against any new information which you have gathered and may want to add to the topic. If there is a correspondence or connection between the new information and your standards and/or norms then you may choose to add the new information to your understanding of the topic under consideration.

Problem solving inherently has a mathematical bias with the assumption that every problem has a solution. Unfortunately in the area of subjective disciplines or topics not every problem has an easy solution if one is even possible. Overpopulation is a problem in much of the world but how do you educate the very poor in family planning when they can’t even afford basic contraceptives or afford teachers who want to promote and teach contraception.

Human problems are often much harder to solve than math problems. Individual, social, and political change is extremely hard to engineer and the results of the engineered attempts often take a generation or more to show any tangible good results in the long duration.

Decision making is either a very personal skill for an individual or it can be making decisions which affect entire organizations or even countries where more than one human takes part in making the decisions.

Decision: n. making (an impulsive judgment and/or a judgment after some thought) and/or an inquiry and frequently doing and/or not doing a subset(s)

 

Decision making is really not an actual part of critical thinking but merely acting after all the critical thinking has been done.

It is one thing to say that there is climate change or extremes of cold and hot weather caused mostly by the sun or sun cycles. It is an absurdity to state that a fractional increase in CO2 levels is the cause of extreme cold and hot climate change. Similarly it is an absurdity to say that forbidding the use of plastic straws will greatly reduce plastic pollution since it comprises only a very small fraction of a percent of plastic usage in the world. Climate change is not primarily caused by humans nor is human use of plastic straws a major pollution problem.

Deforestation, wilderness destruction, factory farming, artificial pesticides, artificial herbicides, artificial fertilizers, antibiotics, GMO’s, over fishing, and manufacturing pollution are far greater problems to be addressed than climate change and plastic straws. Sustainable use of natural resources should be the primary goal and minimizing pollution by artificial chemicals and overly large use of non toxic chemicals is also important. Yes, human overpopulation is a never ending problem which has to be addressed seriously because a middle class existence by over 7 billion humans will destroy the environment even faster than it is being destroyed today.

Critical thinking is impossible if you base it on fake opinions, fake beliefs, and fake facts so the emphasis should be on finding valid opinions, beliefs, and facts to critically think about.

In political science, social science, and psychological science, which are all not sciences at all, ideological dogmatism reigns supreme. One assumes income distribution, equality of results, gender equality, race equality, and equality in general is a necessary good value or assumption to make whether or not the actual realistic facts support these assumptions.

Basic human genetic variability, educational inequality and financial inequality is totally ignored as possible causes for human inequality in society and the result is a dogmatic intolerance of any ideology which challenges a basically collectivist egalitarian left wing mindset. Critical thinking is not possible if your dogmatic ideology is no longer debatable as is the case for left wing ideologues in the media. If you don’t believe in the dogmatic ideology then you are insulted, name called, put down, ridiculed, humiliated, criticized, and even blacklisted from professions, the media, and society in general.

Critical thinking is not possible if differing opinions, beliefs, and facts are not tolerated or not made subjects of debate.

So critical thinking is finding truthful facts, statistics, opinions, and beliefs, trying to find relationships between causes and effects if there are any, analyzing and then synthesizing the validated facts using Venn diagrams if possible, comparing the opinions and beliefs of authority figures with opposing opinions and beliefs and trying to find areas of agreement, and finally incorporating any new information which you have learned with the information which you are knowledgeable about which is your personal opinions, beliefs, knowledge about facts, and experiences.

Critical thinking is not a simple process and just like thinking there are very few who excel in critical thinking or even know what it is. Most of us know what to criticize but few of us know how to criticize properly using the right techniques.

I have written a book HOW TO THINK on Amazon which should greatly help you if you are interested in becoming a true thinker. Once you have mastered the art of thinking about subjective topics or the science of thinking about more objective topics it is much easier to launch into successful critical thinking.

If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4800 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.

For a complete readily accessible list of blogs and titles go to twitter.com/uldissprogis.

Enjoy!!!!!!

If you enjoyed this blog then here is a list of my most popular ones which you may also enjoy!!!

https://uldissprogis.com/zlist-of-my-most-popular-blogs/

20 COGNITIVE BIASES!!!

cognitive bias is often an impulsive mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, decision-making, or other thinking process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences, beliefs, emotions, and prejudices regardless of contrary information.

Cognitive biases are impulsive thinking biases which often make you reach the wrong conclusions and lead you into making inaccurate statements. Reality is altered by these cognitive biases and your thinking and decision making process becomes less than perfect often creating mistakes or problems where there shouldn’t be any. Often impulsive emotions are a major reason why the cognitive biases exist in the first place. Emotional impulsive reactions are habitual ways of thinking which dominate the decision making process for most humans and do not require much if any thinking before reacting. Most humans don’t reason or think but are impulsively judgmental to a large degree.

Authority and Respect Bias:

Worth mentioning is that humans tend to be persuaded by or have a greater belief or trust in authority figures and humans that they like, admire, or respect.

Confirmation Bias:

We love to agree with people who agree with us. That is why we only visit websites and read articles that express our political opinions, and why we mostly interact with humans who hold similar views and tastes. We tend to avoid or ignore individuals, groups, and news sources that make us feel uncomfortable or insecure about our views and preferences.

Ingroup or Herd Instinct Bias:

Somewhat similar to the confirmation bias is the ingroup bias, an indication of our innate tribalistic or herd instinct tendencies. This innate impulsive bias helps us to make tighter bonds with people in our own group but performs the exact opposite function for those on the outside. It makes us suspicious, fearful, and even disrespectful and contemptuous of others. The ingroup bias causes us to overestimate the abilities and value of our own immediate group at the expense of people we don’t really know.

Bandwagon Bias:

This is really a takeoff of the ingroup bias which is a tendency for humans to want to go along with the majority in terms of opinions and behavior rather than be the exception to the rule and develop your own opinions and behavior. Humans in general tend to be conformists rather than rebellious non conformists.

Previous Event Bias:

Humans have a tendency to place greater importance on previous events and assume that if something occurred in the past then the chances for repetition of that event in the future are more likely. Thus gamblers erroneously believe that they are on a winning streak despite the fact that the odds against winning are always the same.

Status Quo Bias:

This is our tendency to continue old habits and not try to change to new and perhaps better ones. We have a tendency to order the same types of meals in restaurants and experiment rarely with new choices. We smoke the same brand of cigarettes despite just as good and cheaper ones and stick with brands that we know in general and don’t go for generic equivalents which are just as good. The general summarized attitude is “If it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it.”

Impulse Bias:

We have a tendency to buy what we want in the short run but sometimes buy what we need in the long duration. We prefer to buy donuts and chocolate now but buy healthier foods for the next week’s consumption. Immediate gratification often wins out over delayed gratification and studies have found that those who can delay gratification do better in life and are more responsible.

Inaccurate Generalizations Bias:

This happens when you take just one example and make it into a general rule. Rarely is this attempt at generalization accurate and it is often faulty too. We may hear of one or two women involved in a car accident and make the erroneous generalization that women are worse drivers than men.

Stereotype Bias:

You make decisions biased by ethnic, gender, appearance, or professional stereotypes. You may be asked if both are qualified who would you hire as a car mechanic or nurse, a male or a female? The stereotype of male mechanics and female nurses is hard to overcome and is reflected in hiring practices which theoretically should not be discriminatory. The problem with stereotyping is that generalized group characteristics are unjustly forced on individuals who may greatly deviate from stereotyped group norms and deserve just evaluation.

Always or Never Thinking Bias:

You are too absolute in your thinking and think too many things are yes or no, all or nothing, black or white, always or never, and seldom sometimes, frequently, infrequently or grey. You may believe that the sun never shines during a rain which is generally true in northern areas. However, in Florida, in the summertime there are often 5 or 10 minute showers with the sun shining through the clouds.

Blaming Bias:

Before you uncover the reason for a mistake or a new problem you quickly blame others or yourself for it. There are many cases where circumstances are to blame and no one particular human.

Denial Bias:

Before you uncover the reason for a mistake or new problem you quickly deny that it was your fault or sometimes even deny that it was someone else’s fault. If you trust or like someone a lot then your first reaction may be that they are not to blame for a mistake or problem.

Rule Fanaticism Bias:

You strongly believe that rules are absolute and should be followed unquestioningly all the time. You harshly criticize yourself and others for not following them even though realistically there are exceptions to these rules which should seriously be considered. There are one or more circumstances under which  the rules can be broken but you refuse to accept this reality.

Negative or Positive bias:

You focus too much on either the negative or positive factors and fail to analyze both the negative and the positive events and possibilities. Viewing the local news with all the examples of crime may lead you to pessimistically conclude that crime is getting much worse and you may take extra steps to guard against burglars and other thieves. Negative examples have about 3 times the emotional impact on you than neutral or positive events but there are still many optimists who focus on the positive rather than the negative and feel that things are getting better or at least staying the same.

Pessimistic Fear Bias:

You fear that mostly bad things will happen and often fear the worst case scenario. Being pessimistic about the way things are going in the world is common but it can become a major handicap in your own life if you live in fear of very bad things happening to you and worry about this on a daily basis.

Personalization Bias:

You take things too personally and get easily offended and feel that what humans do and say is a direct reaction to your behavior.

Mind Reading Bias:

You assume that you know what others are thinking without verifying the thoughts with questioning. You may falsely assume that someone is sad rather than tired and greedy about money rather than merely selfinterested and desiring affirmation from others.

Emotional Bias:

You assume that your emotions have validity and that others probably feel the same way that you do. Nowhere is emotional bias more prevalent than in discussions or arguments about religion, politics, and sports.

Fairness Bias:

You think that your idea of fairness is workable and preferable because fundamentally it is your opinion.

Miraculous Thinking Bias:

You think that getting lucky, getting smarter, getting wealthier, finding a mentor, etc. will solve all your problems instantly.

There are more cognitive biases than just 20. If you want more information on cognitive biases done in a slightly different manner then view this link which presents 25 and 12 cognitive biases on YouTube.

COMMENTS ON 6 KEY ATTRIBUTES THAT GOOGLE TRIES TO INSTILL IN IT’S MANAGERS!!!

Michael Schneider summarized the 6 key attributes in Effective Bosses and I am commenting on his article based on his observations. While the attributes are considered valuable in managers it is not that easy to instill some of them if the managers don’t have them in the first place. Some attributes are only possible with an abundance of the right prior experiences and indoctrination at a relatively early age since changing an adult’s behavior is many times harder than it is to change a youth’s behavior. This is especially true when it comes to the question of evaluating emotional intelligence.

  1. A growth mindset and emphasis on values is of primary importance for a growing and developing organization.

A growth mindset is really also having values and it means a manager who is interested in optimistically achieving growth in a changing environment by increasing his useful knowledge, skills, and competency in general with new learning.

You can list over 50 core values which manager should have but the most important values are integrity or basic morality and honesty; trustworthiness which is also a function of integrity, dependability, and competence; reputation and respect which results from integrity and trustworthiness; team spirit which comes from a leader with empathy, cooperative effort, and emotional intelligence; and a bottom line attitude which takes into consideration the cost and timeline for materials and personnel which determines how efficient the management actually is in planning and implementing work to be done.

How you instill these values in a manager who doesn’t have them in the first place is mission improbable but managers who have good values should be mentoring others who fall short in some value departments.

  1. Instilling emotional intelligence (EI) in an introverted programmer is almost impossible because emotional intelligence is an acquired skill which comes from years of exposure to all kinds of personality types starting from many siblings in childhood to relatively many social friendships in and out of school. There are things a lacking individual can do to increase personal emotional intelligence and you can further investigate the topic by referring to these two useful articles. Emotional intelligence THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

 

  1. Manager transition principles is trying to instill in new managers the importance of honesty and being open and vulnerable. Managers are encouraged to communicate their transition and other problems to others and not be afraid to share their experiences and ask for advice from others on how to handle certain important situations and strategies.

 

  1. Coaching

“Through Project Oxygen, it was revealed that the number one quality of effective managers is being a good coach. Google defines good coaching as:

Timely and specific feedback

Delivering hard feedback in a motivational and thoughtful way

Tailoring approaches to meet individual communication styles in regular one-on-one meetings

Practicing empathetic “active” listening and being fully present

Being cognizant of your own mindset and that of the employee

Asking open-ended questions to discover an employee’s acumen”

In coaching as a skill the first two points are techniques for optimizing the effectiveness of feedback and the last 4 are applying emotional intelligence principles.

  1. Feedback  The key to good feedback is asking relevant questions which can be specific or open ended, really listening to the answers, and asking follow up questions if necessary. All of this should be done in a timely way. Motivating can also be a part of feedback where encouragement and sometimes praise is part of the feedback process. Advice or suggestions can also appropriately be given during the feedback process if the task is running into unforeseen problems. The Truth About Feedback.
  2. Decision Making

“To ensure judgments aren’t made in a vacuum, Google has established a routine to help managers make better decisions. This framework includes asking and articulating:

What are you solving for, and is everyone on the same page? (Identify and communicate the root cause.)

Why is it important? (Does it support other business goals?)

Who is the decision maker?

How will the decision be made?

When can people expect a decision? (Keep stakeholders in the loop, and manage expectations.)”

Communicate what the decision is with a reason, why the decision has to be made or why it is necessary and how it supports other business goals, how the decision will be made and by whom, and when the decision will be made. It is basically answering who, what, where, when, and how will a decision be made? A very important omission is how much the decision itself will cost and how much cost will result from making the decision. These are potential planning and implementation costs.

If you liked this evergreen truth blog then read more of them, about 4200 so far, or read one or more of my evergreen truth books, especially EVERGREEN TRUTH, rays of truth in a human world filled with myths and deceptions.

For a complete readily accessible list of blogs and titles go to twitter.com/uldissprogis.

Enjoy!!!!!!

If you enjoyed this blog then here is a list of my most popular ones which you may also enjoy!!!

https://uldissprogis.com/zlist-of-my-most-popular-blogs/

6 QUESTIONS LEADERS AND WORKERS CAN ASK BEFORE MAKING A DECISION

making_decisions

Asking WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW and HOW MUCH before making a decision can be extremely helpful.

HERE ARE 24 SAMPLE QUESTIONS WHICH WILL HELP DECISION MAKING:

 

Who will help me or do it?

Who needs help?

Who is the problem?

Who is responsible?

 

What needs to be done?

What is the problem or what is causing the problem?

What do I do next?

What does he, she, or they do next?

What will increase efficiency?

What will increase teamwork?

What will you need to reach your goal(s)?

What is the best choice or choices?

What needs to change?

 

Where do we meet?

Where do I go?

Where is the best place for that?

 

When will it start?

When will it get done?

 

How will you do it?

How long will it take?

How many will you need?

How do they feel about it?

 

How much time will it take?

How much money will it take?

Finally one can ask WHY do we have to make decisions? So that the business or organization will survive and we will all have jobs to support our lifestyles.

If you liked this evergreen blog read more of them and read one or more of my evergreen books, especially COMMON SENSE.

Enjoy!!!!!!

BEWARE OF PRODUCTS WITH A MISLEADING BRAIN ON IT!!!

SCAM ALERT!

Beware of energy drinks loaded with sugar to give you a temporary energy high and make you feel energized unnaturally coupled with an artificial caffeine dose added to make you feel very awake.

When the effect wears off you are worse off biologically then when you began drinking the “energy drink”!!!

Also beware of the new scam that a product with a picture of a brain on it will improve your decision making ability and make you smarter.

It is an untrue claim!!!

Molley Crockett a neuroscientist has a wonderful video which separates fact from fiction and I have included it in my blog.

MOLLEY CROCKETT: BEWARE NEUROBUNK!!!

I’m a neuroscientist, and I study decision-making. 

I do experiments to test how different chemicals in the brain influence the choices we make.

I’m here to tell you the secret to successful decision-making: a cheese sandwich.

That’s right. According to scientists, a cheese sandwich is the solution to all your tough decisions.

How do I know?

I’m the scientist who did the study.

A few years ago, my colleagues and I were interested in how a brain chemical called serotonin would influence people’s decisions in social situations.

Specifically, we wanted to know how serotonin would affect the way people react when they’re treated unfairly.

So we did an experiment.

We manipulated people’s serotonin levels by giving them this really disgusting-tasting artificial lemon-flavored drink that works by taking away the raw ingredient for serotonin in the brain.

This is the amino acid tryptophan.

So what we found was, when tryptophan was low, people were more likely to take revenge when they’re treated unfairly.

 

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