Black & White Thinking Even the most disciplined of critical thinkers encounter/succumb to blocks to critical thinking from time to time. One of these obstacles is that of a black & white thought process. Also referred to as splitting, or all-or-nothing thinking. This creates a ‘speed bump’ for critical thinking because it involves a vast omission of a large amount of data. Rarely are there really only two possibilities. The two possibilities someone who does not think critically comes up with, are likely two very different ideas, each on completely opposite ends of a spectrum.
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What is skipped over, is a great variation of both pieces of information/ideas. The “Grey Area” as it is sometimes called. Black & white thinking is often used to block out information that an individual may not want to come to terms with. A defense mechanism of sorts. For instance, someone could think that someone’s sexuality is either chosen or forced imposed by some other person or force. Or a person could tell themselves, “l always fail when I try to do something new; so I fail at everything I try. In both cases it is unlikely that hose are the only possible explanations or outcomes. These people are only seeing things in absolutes. The reason that this is counter-productive to critical thinking is that this mindset does not analyze material for what it is. If something is not round it is not flat by default. Black & white thinking turns information into what the individual wishes it to be. Or alters it at the very least. Critical readers cannot do this. They must evaluate information in the way it is presented, not reformulate it based on their own personal agenda.