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Deciding Advantageously Before Knowing The Advantageous Strategy Focuses On How People Respond To Situations That Require Rationality

Critical Thinking

The article selected for analysis Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy focuses on how people respond to situations that require rationality (Bechara, Damasio, Tranel, & Damasio, 1997). Deciding advantageously in a given scenario requires a person to have clear reasoning on given knowledge, such as facts related to a proposed situation or knowing that there are certain outcomes for actions that are based on previous experiences (Bechara et al., 1997).

The authors of the article studied how people responded to a given situation by conducting an experiment in which the participants received a deck of cards. A gambling scenario evokes real-life decision-making situations as people are uncertain of what they might get by turning each card since there are penalties, rewards, and uncertainty involved in the game (Bechara et al., 1997). The players received four decks along with a loan of $2000 replica of U.S bills. The game rules were simple; the participants had to turn each card. The cards carried a reward of $100 in deck A and B and $50 award in decks C and D. There was a twist, however, in the game, by turning some cards the players were faced with penalties (Bechara et al., 1997). The uncertainty of punishments and rewards led the players to think about the situation before turning the cards from either of the four decks. The results showed that healthy participants analyzed the risks of getting penalties from the given cards, while players with bilateral damage to the ventromedial prefrontal cortices did not review the situation and kept playing (Bechara et al., 1997). The researchers concluded that sensory circumstances require people to make decisions that lead to different events. Through the experiment, the researchers found out that the automatic responses point towards non-conscious signalling, which highlights that the brain accesses past experiences. The past experiences can be either based on a situation that was rewarding or where the person received punishment. The injury to the ventromedial cortices hinders the ability to use particular information related to past experiences (Bechara et al., 1997).

Critical thinking is the ability to think straight and logically about what an individual has to do and the faith that an individual carries. Furthermore, critical thinking is an individual’s capability to indulge in reflective and independent thinking (Peter & Gittens, 2015). Aside from this, a person who has rational thinking ability can apprehend the sensible link between ideas. In addition to this, he or she can identify a topic, formulate plans based on the subject and assess arguments (Peter & Gittens, 2015). Such a person becomes better at problem-solving, and he or she can reflect on the validity of other people’s beliefs and values. Any person can be a critical thinker unless he or she has suffered a traumatic brain injury, which might hinder his or her thinking capability. Being a critical thinker does not mean that the person can accumulate information or that he or she has a good memory. Instead, being a rational thinker means having the ability to assess different situations and come up with a logical solution (Peter & Gittens, 2015).

Furthermore, the article discussed in this paper focuses on how sensory representations of any given situation are evoked by the activation of neural systems that utilize non-declarative knowledge associated with an individual’s past experiences of similar scenarios (Bechara et al., 1997). On the other hand, the cognitive psychology approach asserts that critical thinking is an individual’s capacity to ponder over and assess his or her thoughts consciously. This school of thought believes that critical thinking consists of analytical skills, and the critical thinker makes reasonable judgments through his or her skills. While the article focuses on information influenced by past experiences, the cognitive psychology theory asserts that people can assess situations based on rationality and reasoning (Peter & Gittens, 2015).

By assessing the information from past experiences and utilizing reasoning and logical thinking, an individual can become an active critical thinker. Knowledge from previous scenarios can be useful in determining the outcome of any situation, while logic and rationality can help assess the situation and act accordingly (Peter & Gittens, 2015). As mentioned earlier, to be a critical thinker, one has to rely on one’s thought processes before acting on something (Peter & Gittens, 2015). Rationality is one of the core components of critical thinking. In addition to this, rationality and emotions both play an important role in analyzing a real-life situation. One of the strategies that a person can use to become a critical thinker is that of solving problems on a daily basis. To carry out this process, the individual has to identify the problem and assess it so that he or she knows what they are facing. Careful analysis is the next step, which involves interpreting the information and drawing logical references from it. After understanding the data, the individual has to decide on the possible actions to take and come up with a strategic approach to deal with it. To be an active critical thinker, one has to identify a situation first and then construct the possible outcomes before commencing acting on it (Peter & Gittens, 2015). Assessing the case makes it easier to reach a beneficial solution instead of plunging right into it and being overburdened with technicalities (Peter & Gittens, 2015). By utilizing these strategies, it becomes easier to tackle any situation and reach a positive outcome.


Bechara, A., Damasio, H., Tranel, D., & Damasio, A. R. (1997). Deciding advantageously before knowing the advantageous strategy. Science, 275(5304), 1293–1295.

Peter, F., & Gittens, C. A. (2015). Think Critically.



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