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Uncommon Sense Effective Critical Thinking and Decision-Making in a Complex World,9781269405706
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Uncommon Sense Effective Critical Thinking and Decision-Making in a Complex World



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Pearson Learning Solutions
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This is the 1st edition with a publication date of 7/10/2013.

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Presented as a supplemental text focusing on practical applications, Uncommon Sense embodies an innovative approach in discussing the roots of and lifelong influences on critical thinking.  In today’s technology-driven, need-answers-now world, students and laypeople alike will benefit from the study of various psychological theories of human functioning and their effects on our ability to make effective decisions in all areas of our lives.


This text offers a comprehensive balance in combination with theory-laden critical thinking texts, demonstrating how to put principles into action in our everyday encounters with self and others.

Author Biography

Dr. Lisa Weisman-Davlantes, MFT has been a Lecturer in the psychology department at California State University, Fullerton since 2002, teaching such courses as Reasoning and Problem Solving, Human Sexuality, Developmental Psychology, and Psychology of Gender.  Before that she taught at various community colleges in Southern California. She has also been a licensed marriage and family therapist since 1990 and has extensive experience treating diverse individuals, couples, groups, and children.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi


Part I. Roots of Critical Thinking


1. What Does it Mean to be a Critical Thinker? 1

• Requirements and Goals of Critical Thinking 2

• Change and Growth: Nature vs. Nurture 11

• The Journey 15


2. Accountability: If You Mess up, Fess Up! 17

• Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine? 17

• Snap Out of it! Stop Defending, Start Attending 24

• Chaos or Control? Internal vs. External Locus of Control 25

• Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 26


3. Logic, Emotion, and Intuition: The Crucial Triangle 29

• Logical Conclusions 29

• The Value of Emotion 30

• The Importance of Intuition 33

• Embracing the Crucial Triangle 34


4. Parental Discipline—the Groundwork for Critical

Thinking 37

• Inductive Parenting 39

• Emotional Intelligence and Coping Skills 43

• Four Styles of Parenting 44

• Teaching Ego Strength 47


5. Where Have You Gone, Character and Integrity? 49

• Moral Development 50

A. Freud 50

B. Kohlberg 54

C. Self-Control 57

• Moral Relativism 58

A. Cheating in Education 59

B. Pressure to Perform 60

C. Very Casual Sex: Friends With Benefits, Booty Call 62

D. Corporate, Political, and Religious Misadventures 63


6. Narcissism, Sense of Entitlement, and Other Descriptions of Spoiled Brats 67

• Cognitive Development and the Connection to Narcissism 69

• The Isms: Egocentrism and Ethnocentrism 70

• Narcissism is Normal—For Toddlers and Teens 72

• The Personal Fable and the Imaginary Audience 75

• Corporate America and Gen X and Y Narcissists 78


7. Memory: You Must Remember This 81

• Three Processes of Memory 83

• Three Memory Systems 84

• Three Methods of Measuring Memory 86

• Causes of Forgetting 86

• Distress, Eustress, We All Stress 90


8. Learning and Decision-Making 93

• Classical Conditioning 96

• Operant Conditioning 100

• Observational Learning 102

• CC, OC, and OL: A Marriage of Necessity 103


Part II. Analyzing Critical Thought in the Real World


9. Higher Education and its Effects on Critical Thinking 105

• Questioning Authority 106

• Becoming More Critical but Less Judgmental 109

• Finding a Purpose 110


10. How Technology Helps/Hinders our Thinking and Social

Skills 113

• Social Networking and YouTube 114

• Cell Phones—Talking, Texting, and Sexting, OMG! 116

• Gaming 119

• Technology and Anonymity 121

• Is Anybody Out There? Does Anybody Care? 122


11. Bipartisan Politics and Critical Thinking . . . a Very Brief Chapter! 125

• Donkeys vs. Elephants 126

• Playing the Political Game 126

• Talking Heads: Technology, Television, and Tuning Out 128

• Family Feuds 130

• Can’t We All Just Get Along? 131


12. Religion and Critical Thought 135

• Don’t Ask, Don’t Think 136

• Cafeteria Religion 139

• Religious vs. Spiritual 142

• Religion and Science: A Tentative Relationship 144


13. Mass Media, Advertising, and the Lack of Critical Thought 149

• Persuasive Techniques—“Hey, Mom!” 149

• Sensationalism vs. News 152

• Being Politically Correct and Other Euphemisms 155

• Messages About Men, Women, and Relationships 156

• The Decline of Self-Esteem and the Rise of Cosmetic Surgery 159

• Numbers Don’t Lie . . . Unless You Increase Your Subject Pool 162


Part III. Demonstrating Critical Thinking Skills


14. Communicating: Do We Converse or Conversate? 165

• What is Your Communication Style? 165

• Lose the ‘Tude, Dude! It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say it! 168

• Hearing vs. Listening, Talking vs. Conversing 170


15. Managerial Expertise, Employee Relations, and Soft Skills 173

• The Necessity of Soft Skills 173

• Authority vs. Power 177

• Decision-Making and Employee Satisfaction 179

• Sealing the Deal 181


16. Everyday Uses of Critical Thinking 183

• Social Skills 183

• Relationship Choices 186

• On the Job 189

• Dollars and Sense 190

• Intellectual Laziness 194


17. Those Opposed to Critical Thinking 197

• Individuals 198

• Groups 199

• Warning Signs 202


18. What Now? Moving Forward 205

• How and When Do I Use My New Skills? 205

• When Not to Use Your New Skills 206

• Keep on Keeping on 208


References 209



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