Difference Between Thinking and Critical Thinking

Whenever we draw a conclusion or make an opinion about something, we often think about all the possible aspects of a topic, or we directly conclude as per what our mind says.


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This is the process of thinking or critical thinking. Both topics have vast matters in them. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Thinking is a mental process that involves cognitive functions such as perception and memory, while critical thinking requires deliberate analysis and evaluation of information.
  2. Critical thinking involves skills like problem-solving, logical reasoning, and decision-making.
  3. Critical thinking aims to achieve objective understanding and rational conclusions instead of thinking, which biases and emotions can influence.

Thinking vs Critical Thinking

The difference between thinking and critical thinking is that thinking involves the act of analyzing something at a basic or ground level and acting fast whereas critical thinking is the act of analyzing all the possible outcomes and characteristics of something until a conclusion or opinion is formed.

Thinking vs Critical Thinking

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Thinking is a process in which a person quickly and readily forms a thought about something. It does not require or take long hours to analyse the situation or topic.

Thinking is a very active, necessary, and frequent action which we come across in our daily lives. 

Critical thinking is a different field. It is also the action of thinking but has exceptions.

Critical thinking involves the analysis of the situation or the topic and investigating every possible outcome and all peculiar properties of the case. It is time taking and more substantial.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonThinkingCritical Thinking
MeaningCritical thinking is investigating every possible aspect of the situation or thought. Critical thinking is a deeper form of thinking that requires analysis and deep investigation.
RequirementsThinking may or may not require research about somethingThinking is done frequently, and almost every time we do something.
MomentCritical thinking is not a frequent act, and it is done occasionally. Thinking can be either active or passive and completely dependent upon the thinker.
Factual analysisThinking may or may not take facts or evidence to conclude.Critical thinking has a strong base on factual knowledge and evidence about something.   
Kind of activityThian be either active or passive and entirely dependent upon the thinker.Critical thinking is necessarily a very active process depending upon the thinker. 

What is Thinking?

Thinking is analyzing, examining, investigating, and making a thought or an opinion about a situation kept after us or a topic we often think about.

Thinking is a fundamental and general activity that we all do in our daily lives. Almost every work we do involves thinking.

However, thinking is not always active; it can also be passive.

Active thinking involves drawing an opinion about something for our benefit. In contrast, passive thinking means thinking about something passively that is not at all beneficial to us or just imagination is considered as passive thinking.

Thinking is a stress-free task and does not tire us like overthinking or critical thinking.

The act of thinking is also not always factual or based upon evidence.

Thinking can be pointless too. It can reflect one’s personality and behaviour also. In other words, the thinker also sometimes fails to conclude the thought they raised in their mind.

Thinking is a rapid, reliable, and frequent activity. For instance, someone can eat the food later if they are not hungry at that particular time.

This thought can come in fractions of seconds in someone’s brain and is all a result of thinking. 

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking is a more complex and tedious task than thinking. As the name itself says, critical thinking involves thinking seriously and critically.

Unlike thinking, it involves using assumptions, observations, factual knowledge, and evidence to conclude the situation or an ongoing topic.

Critical thinking is a very stressful action. It also requires research and proper analysis of something before concluding. Moreover, it is also time-consuming.

Sometimes, it may last for hours, but the decision still becomes manipulative. It also requires an intense investigation.

Although it is not frequent or quick, it may also stress somebody’s personal life.

Critical thinking is done upon serious tasks like a family matter that stresses the underaged children of that family and lets them think about the situation more often.

Critical thinking is an occasional action. Critical thinking involves thinking more than what the matter requires.

When done in excess, critical thinking also turns hazardous to health, causing headaches and anxiety.

Sometimes people combine critical thinking abilities and overthinking, which results in significant losses yet perfect conclusions.

Critical thinking includes seeking knowledge and drawing conclusions, whereas overthinking is just an obsession.

Main Differences Between Thinking and Critical Thinking

  1. Thinking is the process of forming a thought about something and can be done in a fraction of a second which is less time-consuming, whereas critical thinking consumes a lot of time and energy too.
  2. Thinking involves the practice of analyzing only visible aspects of something, which is kept right in front, whereas critical thinking involves every aspect of the topic and involves unseen sides and details also.
  3. Thinking can be done for unwanted and unnecessary things also, whereas critical thinking always focuses on being productive and is for important things only. 
  4. Thinking never gives stress whereas critical thinking does.
  5. Thinking may or may not always conclude, whereas critical thinking always leads to a conclusion.
Difference Between Thinking and Critical Thinking
  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/jeductechsoci.17.1.248.pdf
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1745-3984.1990.tb00733.x
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