2. How art can help you analyze
Can art save lives? Not exactly, but our most prized professionals (doctors, nurses, police officers) can learn real-world skills through art analysis. Studying art like René Magritte’s Time Transfixed can enhance communication and analytical skills, with an emphasis on both the seen and unseen. Amy E. Herman explains why art historical training can prepare you for real world investigation.

3. The psychology behind irrational decisions
Often people make decisions that are not “rational” from a purely economical point of view—meaning that they don’t necessarily lead to the best result. Why is that? Are we just bad at dealing with numbers and odds? Or is there a psychological mechanism behind it? Sara Garofalo explains heuristics, problem-solving approaches based on previous experience and intuition rather than analysis.

4. How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it)
Have you ever talked with a friend about a problem, only to realize that he just doesn’t seem to grasp why the issue is so important to you? Have you ever presented an idea to a group, and it’s met with utter confusion? What’s going on here? Katherine Hampsten describes why miscommunication occurs so frequently, and how we can minimize frustration while expressing ourselves better.

The 5 most popular TED-Ed Lessons on #criticalthinkingskills

5. Rethinking thinking
Every day, we meet people and process our interactions—making inferences and developing beliefs about the world around us. In this lesson, Trevor Maber introduces us to the idea of a “ladder of inference” and a process for rethinking the way we interact.

About the Author:

Ellen Ullman is editorial director, content services, for eSchool Media.