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Critical Thinking Bibliographic Resources
Critical Thinking Bibliographic Resources
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Past Events of Interest
HMS Annual Symposium on the Science of Learning
The Challenge of Critical Thinking in Medical Education
Date: May 9, 2008
Location: Harvard Medical School, Armenise Amphitheatre
As medicine becomes increasingly complex, the information that physicians are asked to digest becomes increasingly complicated. Unless we are mindful of these complexities, we have a very powerful tendency to ignore what is unfamiliar and to embrace that which we have seen before. In many instances, this is a necessary adaptation. We often do not have the luxury of actively considering all that we might know about a given medical problem, and we therefore rely a great deal on pattern recognition. This process is both essential to the practice of medicine but also ripe with the potential for error and miscalculation. What are the underlying mechanisms that cause these processes? To address that issue we have invited experts in the field of critical thinking and decision making.
Speakers: David Perkins, PhD; Ed Furshpan, PhD; Steven Schlozman, MD
Thinking Twice: Fast Cognition, Slow Cognition and the Challenge of Critical Thinking
David N. Perkins, PhD
Senior Professor of Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Research on competence in both everyday matters and professional practice reveals that we develop two cognitive resources toward making good critical judgments. "Fast cognition" operates intuitively through pattern recognition to offer quick assessments that often prove insightful and accurate. "Slow cognition" operates analytically through stepwise reasoning. Although much more cumbersome, it provides a check on the sometimes hasty judgments of fast cognition as well as a deliberate approach to situations where one lacks well-developed patterns. A good partnership between the fast and the slow is a tricky mix that takes years to develop and benefits from educational attention.
Networks of Knowledge; Networks of Neurons
Edwin Furshpan, PhD
Robert Henry Pfeiffer Professor of Neurobiology, Emeritus
Harvard Medical School
How does the human nervous system, an organ system made of cells, carry out its remarkable high-level functions? Its hundreds of billions of neurons are interconnected, with great specificity, by hundreds of trillions of synapses and, in this way, are organized into myriad circuits ("communications networks") that make "computations." The nature of the "computations," the ways in which knowledge is encoded in the networks, and the notion that new knowledge is added through modification of synapses, will be discussed. Vulnerabilities in the ways knowledge is "represented" by neuronal activities will be considered.