It is a myth that we only use 10% of our brains. In fact, all of the parts of the brain we can use to think are used.
But that’s not to say we should not train ourselves to think better. The brain is much like any other part of the body: given the correct stimulus, it will react physically by growing more brain cells.
Unlike muscles, however, the brain needs mental exercise in order to help those new cells to thrive. If thinking is exercise for the brain, scientists say that critical thinking acts like a mental full-body workout.
Most types of thought only require the left or right side of our brains. Critical thinking uses both. The right side assesses to give a big picture, while the left analyses and breaks down problems.
The practice of critical thinking goes back to Socrates. It means understanding logic, spotting flaws in arguments, and making independent judgements. These skills are more important than ever in a “post-truth” era. The internet gives us information for free, but only by thinking logically can we sidestep fake news.
So, although there’s no revolutionary pill to unlock 90% of unused brain power, there is a centuries old technique that does a pretty good job.
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- Take a logical reasoning quiz to test your critical thinking skills.
- List five things you could do to work out logically whether a story is true.
- Create a puzzle of your own that requires critical thinking to solve.