現代は科学技術が高度に発達し，科学技術の成果が広く応用されることで社会の発展が進むと同時に，科学技術の高度かつ専門的な細分化に伴って，特定の領域の専門家以外の公衆（他分野の科学者も含む）の理解が追いつかなくなっている．さらには，従来のように科学が真理の探究のみを目標としていた時代と異なり，価値判断や政策的意思決定などをも含む，科学だけでは解決できないが，一方で科学とは切り離せないような問題，あるいは“科学に問うことはできるが，科学だけでは答えられない”（トランスサイエンス）問題が生じている(小林, 2007; Weinberg, 1972)．このような状況の中で，科学と社会とを繋ぐ科学技術コミュニケーションの重要性が指摘されるだけでなく，学校教育，あるいは生涯教育としての科学リテラシーの重要性も認識されるようになっている．リテラシーは，元来，言語による読み書き能力を指す言葉であるが，近年は，情報一般の活用力を指す情報リテラシー，健康や医療の面での情報活用力とそれに基づいた意思決定の能力を指すヘルスリテラシー，科学の成果とその方法論を理解し，批判的に評価する能力を指す科学リテラシーなどさまざまな能力を指す言葉として用いられている．科学リテラシーをどのように定義するか，あるいはどこからどこまでを科学リテラシーの範囲とするかについては未だに議論があるが1)，いずれの定義においても，科学の諸分野における基本概念や科学の方法論を理解することと，科学的な主張を批判的に評価するためのスキルを獲得することが重視されている(川本・中山・西條, 2008; National Research Council,1996; OECD, 2007a)．
The purpose of these two studies was to examine critical thinking among college students using reading materials on “yutori” (reduced intensity) education. In the first study, 90 participants were presented with excerpts from two newspaper articles (reading material A) and an actual example from the PISA reading literacy test (reading material B). Participants were asked to write a concluding paragraph after reading both materials. It was found that only 10% of the participants could apply critical thinking while examining the materials and could point out inconsistencies between reading materials A and B. Participants who applied critical thinking scored significantly higher on Hirayama and Kusumi’s (2004) scale for “critical thinking attitude” and for “emphasis on evidence.” In the second study, another group of participants were presented with the same materials, but this time they were asked to think aloud as they worked on writing the concluding paragraph. Using protocol analyses, it was reled that critical thinkers formed a conclusion after they had searched for and evaluated the information in the presented materials. Non-critical thinkers, in contrast, mentioned their personal beliefs before thoroughly searching for and evaluating the information and formed a con-clusion that was consistent with their pre-existing beliefs. Implications of this finding for college education are discussed.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of the type of goals and ability on critical thinking performance. Seventy Three students at a nursing school evaluated 30 items of enthymematic reasoning that is reasoning based on enthymeme under two kinds of goals (“to make correct judgments” and “to enjoy things”). Enthymeme, in this study, was defined as a modus ponens syllogism without an unstated premise, so that the enthymeme was logically invalid. We also manipulated the degree of believability of the unstated premise and classified the 30 items of enthymematic reasoning into four categories based on the degree of believability. Critical thinking ability was measured by using the inference subscale of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. The results showed that the logically invalid enthymematic reasoning was more accepted under the goal of enjoying things. Students less accepted the enthymematic reasoning with a less believable implicit assumption. Although students tend to accept the enthymematic reasoning with a relatively believable assumption, the students who had high critical thinking ability more refused to accept the enthymematic reasoning under the goal of making correct judgments in comparison with the students who had low critical thinking ability. We conclude that (1) critical thinking performance varies with goals and beliefs in implicit assumption within subjects; (2) high score in critical thinking ability test does not necessarily guarantee high performance; and (3) critical thinking ability affects performance interacting with goals.
This study reports the results of a learning program especially designed to improve critical thinking abilities of freshman undergraduate students. In this learning program, a variety of 90-minute activities was carried out with the help of worksheets that were used for（a) critical reading and discussion,（b) solving problems in three textbooks, (c) short presentation and small group discussion of controversial issues, (d) cooperative textbook reading by pairs, and (e) reflection about one’s own activities in a discussion. Two experimental class studies (Ns =20,18) examining the changes in students’ critical thinking ability, attitude, and knowledge due to this learning program over the period of one semester were carried out. The results of these two studies revealed that the scores of self-rated scales of critical thinking attitude, skills, knowledge, and perception of effectiveness, media literacy signi.cantly improved from the begin-ning to the end of the program. Although mean scores of the Watson-Glaser critical thinking appraisal did not significantly improve in Study 1, signi.cant improvement was observed in the scores of a new cognitive skill-based critical thinking ability scale in Study 2. Finally, the implications of this new learning program of critical thinking are discussed.
This study examined an acquisition process of “critical thinking disposition” with a four-wave panel data on junior high school students. More specifically, we examined the causal relationships among “critical thinking disposition”, “the skill of practical use of information”, “motivation”, and “communication activity”. We tested several causal models by structural equation modeling, and selected appropriate models. Results showed that “motivation” had effected on “critical thinking disposition” via “the skill of practical use of information”. Also, we found that “truth seeking disposition” which is a factor of “critical thinking disposition” had direct and indirect effected on the other factors of “critical thinking disposition”. Furthermore, we found that “critical thinking disposition” had positive effects on “communication activity”. We concluded that as a way to develop students’ critical thinking disposition, several approach will needed by improving students’ learning motivation, informat on literacy, and truth seeking disposition.
In the area of educational psychology, much research has suggested that habitual reading of texts improves people’s vocabulary (e.g., Stanovich, Cunningham, & West, 1998). However, there are few cognitive approaches addressing why reading texts changes readers’ vocabulary. Our study examined this issue by word association task and simulations through Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA; Landauer & Dumais, 1997). One thousand, one hundred and eighty-nine Japanese adults participated in our research through an internet website. Participants answered two questions about their reading habits of newspapers and novels, and then performed the word association task. We constructed three LSA semantic spaces drawn from corpora of newspapers, novels, and a corpus that includes both newspapers and novels. Participants were divided into four groups according to their reading habits－newspaper and novel readers, newspaper and novelonly readers, and non-readers. In each group, from each stimulus and associated word pair that participants generated, an association strength value, a newspaper-based LSA similarity value, a novel-based LSA similarity value, and newspaper/novel-based LSA similarity value were derived. We conducted two analyses: one between stimulus words and all associated words, and another between stimulus words and most frequently associated words. In both analyses, association strength value in the novelonly reading group was predicted best by the novel-corpora-constructed LSA. In addition, especially in the latter analysis, association strength value in the group who often read both newspapers and novels was predicted best by the LSA constructed from the newspaper/novel corpora. This data suggests that one reason why reading text affects readers’ vocabulary is that readers acquire knowledge by usage-based learning processes, such as LSA.
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between pitch rehearsal and phonological rehearsal with regard to working memory. We conducted a dual-task experiment using musical tones and speech sounds. A standard-comparison task was the primary task and a suppression task was the secondary task. The participants were asked to engage in articulatory or musical suppression while they maintain speech sounds (phonological information) or musical tones (pitch information). Under articulatory suppression, the participants were asked to say “a, i, u” repeatedly; under musical suppression, they were asked to hum in three pitches (e.g., do, re, mi) repeatedly. The results revealed that articulatory suppression decreased the performance of recognition of phonological information but not of pitch information. Moreover, musical suppression decreased the performance of recognition of pitch information but not of phonological information. This implies that ariticulatory suppression selectively interfered with the rehearsals of speech sounds, and musical supersession selectively interfered with the rehearsals of musical tones. Consequently, the results suggest that pitch rehearsal is independent from phonological rehearsal.