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This article examines changes in definitions of critical thinking. The most frequently cited definition of critical thinking points to the importance of belief, yet there is a dearth of research and theory in the reading arena concerning the construct of belief. Social psychologists have investigated belief, however, and have found evidence for two belief theories which are useful in understanding the complexity and problematic nature of teaching students to think critically. Two strands of social psychology research are explored. One strand provides evidence for the notion that people find it much easier to believe than to disbelieve. Theother strand of research suggests thatonce beliefsare formed, they are extremely resistant to change. How these tendencies are able operate simultaneously in humans, as well as implications for the development of critical thinking are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Univeristy of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, Michigan, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2000

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