Barriers to Clear Thinking

Sometimes our minds get clouded and we are unable to think properly. Sometimes these clouded thoughts are not a big deal, like if we have them while ordering a bagel. However, when writing a report or analyzing one, it is important to think clearly and not just learn idly. When our thoughts are clouded, our conclusions become altered. They could be severely misguided and lead to complications down the road. Listed below are seven common things people do that cloud their thoughts and create biased opinions on.

Drawing Premature Conclusions

Waiting is always a smart thing to do. If you base your opinion before all information is in, how do you know your opinions are truly what you believe? Patience is key. Do not make hasty conclusions based on circumstantial evidence. The more information you have, the more accurate your conclusions will be.

Lacking Objectivity

This is mostly seen in primary or secondary school. A kid may say they hate a subject but actually just dislike their teacher. These are illogical conclusions based on external factors.

Ignoring Opposing Evidence

When you already have an opinion on a topic, it is easy to be selective in what your information is. You may do research and only read articles and reports that would support your original opinion. However, how can you make a proper conclusion or have an opinion if you only know part of the story?

Think Within Fixed Limits

Routine makes us susceptible to this. We were taught at an early age that the sky is blue and when someone tells you it is purple, you suddenly get thrown off guard. We see the world the way we see it and tend to have trouble viewing it the way others see it or how it actually is. We need to keep an open mind to break out of this fixed limit we have.

Observing Inaccurately

Everyone has their own perspective, and that is alright. However, when it makes us sway from the truth, it is no longer “alright”. A good way to prevent yourself from writing based on perspective is by sharing the facts with others that have a different way of thinking than you. Then you may be able to think and write about the facts without putting your own perspective into it and claiming it as fact.

Being Unable to Obtain All Relevant Data

Sometimes conclusions are tentative because not all the data was obtained. This is often seen in archaeology because remains get lost and destroyed through the years. This is why scientists often hypothesize about ancient cultures since not all the data can be put together to create a solid conclusion.

Coincidence, Correlation, or Causation?

Superstitions exist due to coincidences. Scientists have methods and guidelines to follow to prevent coincidental results but they make mistakes sometimes. Correlation and causation tend to be mixed up a lot but more people are becoming more self educated on the difference. Correlation is when a pattern between two things appear. Causation is when one thing leads to a result.

Now that you are more aware about common barriers to clear thinking, look out for them and make sure your thoughts are not clouded. If you are aware and avoid these barriers, then you will be able to make better decisions in life as well as improve your papers.


Source: Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology class

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