We can define critical thinking as the ability to doubt what is presented to us as true. Thinking critically is thinking in terms of the questions rather than the answers. We have all the answers we want, the problem is that we believe them all to be true.
Without critical thinking we are more vulnerable to being manipulated
The natural tendency is to take that first truth for granted, but establishing this routine automatically makes us much more vulnerable to manipulation . In the times of information overload in which we live, it becomes even more necessary to develop critical thinking that protects us when making decisions based on that presumed truth that bombards us through social networks in the form of publications and false news, lack of context, lack of answers to the questions appropriate to our own interests, beliefs and needs.
The brain evolves, but not so fast
Our brain, as an organ, is practically the same as it was 100,000 years ago. Fortunately, and that is why we have evolved so much, it has a great capacity for plasticity to adapt to technological changes, such as the high load of information that we have to process since the revolution of the Internet and screens. What happens is that this takes a while and our brain does what it can to adapt, now it seems that it has to do it at a greater speed and demand, with the consequences on processing that this can have, making more errors and cognitive biases in function of our mental pattern.
Critical thinking is the best tool to correct these small information processing errors to which we are overexposed and which is also increasingly requested more immediately, which gives even more room for more automatic processing based on patterns. mental under which our brain works.
Types of mental patterns and critical thinking
TRUMP and another that combats it type GANDHI has been demonstrated.
TRUMP-like mental pattern
The acronyms of the patterns identify very well where each model of the mental processing system goes. The TRUMP type mental pattern is characterized as Threatening, Reactionary, Ruthless, Machiavellian and Partisan ( T hreatening, Reactionary , Unforgiving , Machiavellian and Partisan , in English).
People who present this type of TRUMP-type brain pattern are conditioned by a more threatening world view (a lot of activity is detected in the cerebral amygdala) and are less open or do not like new ideas, so they are considered more reactionary (reduced activity in the anterior cingulate), they are also vengeful people since it has been shown that they feel more pleasure when retaliating (greater activity in the reward system in the dorsal striatum, associated with revenge). They are people who tend to manipulation, selfishness and exploitation for their own show off and personal benefit (Machiavellianism and narcissism).
The TRUMP-like view of society is skewed to benefit those who think the same way as them, their own people and group (as happens in political parties) and are more likely to belittle, hate or destroy others. those who think differently or criticize your ideas.
These characteristics are related to decision-making with a great lack of critical thinking when being made based on fear , which, together with a reactionary mentality , restricts their attentional focus, overestimating the possible threats to the neutrality of the stimuli.
TRUMP Thinking: Weapon of Mass Destruction
An example is Donald Trump’s own vision of what he considers a threat, the Mexican people, and the famous wall that he and his followers wanted to build to shield their own ideals. This is what strengthens that partisan mentality , due to the strong loyalty to people who think like you and the negative bias towards those who do it in the opposite way, without stopping to think if it is better or worse for that lack of critical thinking. It seems that it is easier for them to stay with that automatic thought of our circle of trust than to wonder beyond it if it is right or wrong.
This type of TRUMP-type mentality is detrimental to coexistence and general social well-being due to the lack of openness to change and the acceptance of other thoughts and ideologies that promote progress and human development that encourages mass social influence and manipulation towards unique interests. Therefore, it is a limiting mental pattern of critical thinking, which unfortunately advances in our society.
GANDHI mind pattern
What can we do to counteract this type of mental pattern? The proposal of the team of neuroscientists who studied this type of pattern is to encourage a GANDHI-type mentality characterized by Generous, Affectionate, Educating, Empathic, Humanistic and Interpersonal thinking, attitude and behavior towards events in life ( Giving , Affectionate , N urturing, D ecentered, Humanistic and I nterpersonal).
For this, we must educate people with the support of psychology and pedagogy in making them see that the world is not as threatening as it seems by providing stimulating and enriching environments that promote education, learning and critical thinking, as well as compassion, respect, kindness, cooperation, empathy and other emotional intelligence variables to be able to better understand and process the stimuli of the world around us to give better answers to the questions we ask ourselves.
Changing a TRUMP mentality for a GANDHI mentality is the best value proposition to create greater social well-being and sustainability for all, and not for a few. Thus, we will better build the society of the future.
Gonçalves, O. F., & Boggio, PS (2017). Is there a TRUMP brain? Implications for mental health and world peace. Porto Biomedical Journal , 2(6), 247-249