Induction refers to a cognitive process where we generalize knowledge about something onto other similar things. This is one way we learn and create new knowledge. Psychologists study the de

Critical Thinking Question:
Inductive Generalizations and Unconscious Bias
Induction refers to a cognitive process where we generalize knowledge about something onto other similar things. This is one way we learn and create new knowledge. Psychologists study the development of inductive reasoning in children to learn more about cognitive development.[i] For instance, a child will be given a cherry to eat. They see that it is a small, red, spherical item, they will observe its texture and tenderness. Then they may go out to a park and see a similar item. They might try to eat it because it looks just like a cherry, but it is something else. As we learn and grow our knowledge becomes more specific with experience. But the cognitive process to generalize and learn from these generalizations may be something we do automatically. If we do not observe our ability to correct or adjust our generalizations, they then become overgeneral. You learned about the harmful effects overgeneralizations and stereotypes can have. For this critical thinking exercise, you will review some recent inductive generalizations you have made. Should any be adjusted? How can we adjust our inductive reasoning?
For example, Ronnie says that they do not eat fish. They have tried fish and different types. They used to work on a cruise ship in Alaska and learned to scuba dive in Panama. They have eaten fish and decided do not like it. However, Ronnie will eat sushi, or fish when it is raw. Just not when it is cooked. Given Ronnie’s experience, what is the inductive generalization?
All cooked fish have the same taste and texture and it is undesirable.
There are a lot of fish in the sea! This is true. Could they all be the same? Highly unlikely. One way Ronnie could adjust their generalization would be to try fish that is different from what they have already tried, rather than deciding to never try fish again.
For this exercise,
Identify and write out three inductive generalizations you have made in the last five years.
For each of the above generalizations, explain what experiences would help to adjust your generalization. What knowledge is missing? How could you acquire more accurate knowledge?
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