Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Studies: Too Much Thinking May Inhibit Learning

Studies: Too Much Thinking May Inhibit Learning

Tue Jul 5, 7:16 AM ET

CHICAGO - Too much thinking can harm children's ability to learn and even reduce their chances of getting a Business degree, three new studies suggest in the latest effort to examine the effects of thinking on kids.

One of the studies involved nearly 400 northern California third-graders. Those in the habit of reading, writing, and thinking critically scored about eight points lower on both history and current event topics in a Federally mandated test than children who watch a great deal of television, particularly FOX Newschannel. The thinking children labored under the mistaken impression that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that Iraq was not involved in the attacks of September 11, 2001, and that Saddam was actually an enemy of al Qa'ida. They also believed, mistakenly, that we were not winning the war in Iraq, and that the insurgency is not in its "death throes."

The studies support the contention that children who develop early bad habits of thought (thinking critically, questioning, considering options, constructing best and worst case scenarios, and making choices based on the greatest good for the greatest number rather than on self-interest) have little if any chance of achieving success in the business world or in politics.

The studies took into account other factors that might have influenced the outcome, such as household income. But they largely ignored other research that "found positive associations between children's critical thinking skills and moral imagination," according to liberal critics.

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