Becoming a Critical Thinker

Becoming a Critical Thinker

“Those who know others are intelligent; those who know themselves are truly wise. Those who master others are strong; those who master themselves have true power.” Lao Tzu

A defined process or formula for being or becoming a critical thinker, does not exist. Critical thinking is an awareness and understanding of yourself; how you think, how you react, and how you believe. It is an internalized knowledge of yourself.

Something to contemplate about yourself is … what do you already know?

In previous articles on roles in critical thinking of various thinking modes, such as Analytical, Emotional, Strategic and Systems, I have purposely related them to other theories of brain specialization; particularly Left/Right Brain Theory and the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI). There are other popular psychological profiles that you have read about or taken, and this might be a way to begin your journey of cognitive mastery.

Carl Jung

Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist, he founded the school of Analytical psychology and was the first to define and publish a model of psychological types. The model included two perceiving functions, which he called Sensation and Intuition, and two judging functions, which he called Thinking and Feeling. In addition, he defined two attitudinal types, Extroversion and Introversion.

All psychological typing instruments in broad use today find their origins in Carl Jung's work.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

This is the oldest personality type indicator in use worldwide. Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers created the MBTI directly from Carl Jung's conceptual theory. The instrument is a self-reporting indicator of your preferences in viewing the world around you and making decisions.

Force fitting the personality type indicators of the MBTI to modes of thinking and left/right brain theory, results in the following relationship model.

Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI)

This self-reporting instrument measures and displays your thinking preferences in a metaphorical relationship to well documented specializations of the brain including, left/right hemispheric functioning and the cerebral cortex and limbic systems. William "Ned" Herrmann created the HBDI model.

Force fitting the thinking preference profile of the HBDI to modes of thinking used in Critical Thinking, results in the following relationship model.

DISC Model of Behavior Profile

This self-reporting instrument focuses on your behavioral actions and the influence your emotions contribute. With behavior being the physical manifestation of thinking, it can supply an indicator of your general thinking preference. William Moulton Marston, a physiological psychologist, was the creator of this conceptual theory.

Force fitting the behavior profile of DISC to modes of thinking used in Critical Thinking, results in the following relationship model.


These three psychological personality instruments are the most widely used ones of their kind in business and government today. They can give some insight about yourself and how you might prefer to think. I have emphasized "prefer" because none of these instruments predict how actually you will react cognitively to a given situation, but in all likelihood it will be toward your inherent thinking preference, at least at the start.

The final thing I need to say is that none of these instruments demand a "black and white" view of your thinking … they all show a preference based on degrees related to other factors within yourself. In other words, they can be situationally dependent.

The Critical Thinker recognizes their personal cognitive preferences and the potential situational aspects of them, positive and negative.

Becoming a Critical Thinker Part 2: The Meaning of Words

Becoming a Critical Thinker Part 2: The Meaning of Words

The Role of Quantum Thinking in Critical Thinking

The Role of Quantum Thinking in Critical Thinking