The (Invisible) Plague of Concussion, questions help


Please answer these 5 questions, it should be 2-3 pages, double spaced.

1.    Monitor for potential biases. Given the title of this piece, “The (Invisible) Plague of Concussion,” were you predis-posed to believe or discount the information? Critical think-ers employ meta-cognition. They self-monitor for personal biases and beliefs (e.g., egocentric thinking and the self-serv-ing bias). They also welcome divergent views, and value truth above self- interest. In addition to self-monitoring, critical thinkers also monitor for author, experimenter, participant, and sample biases when reading media reports. In the case of this negative report on the dangers of concussions, did your biases in favor of professional sports affect your willingness to open-mindedly read the report? A good way to test your own biases is to apply it to your own life. Given the increasing evi-dence of possible permanent or fatal brain damage from play-ing sports like football, would you allow your child or loved one to play? If not, should we be supporting these games with ticket sales? 

2.   Examine the data. Were the key terms and core concepts easily identified and clearly defined? Does the report rely upon or overly emphasize unsubstantiated personal stories and anec-dotes? Like psychological scientists who look for operational definitions of key terms (Chapter 1), critical thinkers attempt to define terms and problems accurately. They also carefully ana-lyze data for value and content. 

3.   Don ’t oversimplify    . Does the author exaggerate the impor-tance of certain events or attempt to apply a set of facts to situ-ations that are only superficially similar? Critical thinkers resist overgeneralization and simplistic answers. What other factors should be considered when deciding whether or not to play football or encourage others to play?

 4.   I  nvestigate the conclusions  . Are the author’s assumptions sup-ported by the data? Are there other logical explanations for the findings? Could this be an example of confusing correlation with causation, the third-variable problem, or an illusory correlation? Critical thinkers gather information and delay judgment until adequate data is available. The data in this report are obviously correlational. Given that there is no logical (or ethical) way to experimentally prove that concussions cause damage that emerges decades later, how can you legitimately interpret these correlations?

 5.    A    void emotional reasoning   . Although critical thinkers recog-nize and validate their own and others’ emotions, they recognize that emotions often interfere with logical, clear thinking. In this case, are your own emotions regarding professional sports inter-fering with applying your critical thinking skills?

(  Compare your answers with fellow students, family and friends. Doing so will improve your critical thinking skills and your media savvy  !)

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