Importance of Critical Thinking Skills

Self-regulation is the ability to acknowledge that a decision is supposed to be made. Therefore, one takes time to apply critical thinking skills and evaluate the available alternatives before deciding. In other words, it allows one to assess their choices before making a final decision; therefore, it ensures that minimal mistakes are made. In short, it is a realization that prepares an individual for a decision-making process, thus, preventing hasty actions that can have adverse repercussions.

System-1 thinking is an instant decision often made when one is fronted with a situation that requires quick decision-making. It occurs naturally, and the reaction depends on the situation at hand. For instance, when I was driving along a highway at high speed, a dog crossed over the higher, as the driver, I quickly slowed down. The process of acting quickly to the situation is what is referred to as system-1 thinking.

System-1 is appropriate for making decisions in situations that require immediate solutions. However, system-2 thinking is an organized process that involves planning, evaluating the options, and acting on the situation based on the best alternative selected. For instance, repairing a car requires analytical procedures hence, it involves system-2 thinking. On one occasion I was repairing a car that had stalled, all my mind was preoccupied with finding the solution to the problem. The situation is appropriate because all the critical thinking at this level is procedural.

Heuristics are mental processes that shorten the process of decision-making and how people judge a situation. They reduce the time for self-regulation, which implies that one does not need to pause and think critically when using heuristics. Instead, judgments are made when people continue with other functions. Heuristics often appears when an individual has an experience with an issue or is making decisions based on others’ opinions. In most cases, heuristics are erroneous and can pose serious mistakes to decisions that are made hastily. For instance, two weeks ago I was experiencing a headache and I immediately took a painkiller to relieve the pain. In this situation, the heuristic had a positive effect in that it relieved me from mental exhaustion experienced when I could have employed critical thinking to understand the nature of the headache.

Dominance structuring is the ultimate feeling that makes an individual believe that the final decisions are made. It makes one feel self-satisfaction and therefore overrules other alternatives available during the decision-making process. In other words, the dominance structure enables an individual to lock out other possible choices by choosing the final choice to solve the situation at hand. Dominance structuring is a positive attribute of critical thinking skills (Facione & Gittens, 2016).

This is mainly because, as human beings, people are faced with a variety of choices to make, which can take a lot of time to choose. Moreover, only a few alternatives are usually suitable to solve a situation, and therefore, dominance structuring helps people filter the available choices to produce the best option. For example, deciding to shop on a Monday morning is a form of dominance structuring.

System-1 thinking is prone to cognitive biases; however, mastery of facets and understanding of data helps avoid cognitive bias. Facts and understanding of data help individuals reflect on the whole process (Facione & Gittens, 2016). As a result, they make their decisions based on already determined data and facts. Additionally, mastery of facts ensures that critical thing is employed as every fact and data presented is evaluated. This helps avoid any mistakes that can occur when decisions are made hastily. In short, mastery of facts and understanding of data enables an individual to ponder the situation before deciding; hence, they provide time for self-regulation.


Facione, P. A., & Gittens, C. A. (2016). Think critically (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson.

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PsychologyWriting. "Importance of Critical Thinking Skills." October 3, 2023.