Practical Thinking: Definition, Examples & Quiz

  • Lesson
  • Quiz
  • Like?
Taught by

Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Information Technology, and Literacy and has a master's in counseling psychology and business administration.

Practical thinking involves adapting to your environment or modifying your environment to fit your needs, in order for you to achieve a goal. Learn more about practical thinking from examples and test your knowledge with a quiz.

We also recommend watching Creativity and Divergent Thinking and What Is the DSM? - Definition, Lesson & Quiz

Definition

Suppose that you are an undergraduate psychology student in a statistics course. You are having a hard time understanding linear correlation and linear regression. You need to have at least a basic understanding of these topics by the end of next week, which is when you take your midterm exam. You know that you learn best when you are presented with auditory information. You decide to ask more questions during class time, ask your study group to discuss these topics in more detail, and turn your class notes into a game of Jeopardy so that you can retain more information. This is an example of using practical thinking.

Practical thinking is defined as considering ways to adapt to your environment, or changing your environment to fit you, so that you are able to pursue a goal. Practical sense is sometimes referred to as street smarts or common sense. Practical thinking is not concerned with gathering additional information or analyzing what you already know in multiple ways. It is concerned with taking the knowledge that you already have and effectively using it to solve problems in the real-world. In other words, practical knowledge is not concerned with gaining new knowledge, but rather using or applying knowledge to guide some action.

If you have good practical thinking skills, you are able to:

  • Manage your own thinking process
  • Adapt to situations
  • Be open to other options
  • Have flexibility in the way that you approach problems
  • Know how to get along with and talk to others
  • Apply knowledge or information that you have previously learned to solve real-world problems

Examples

Let's look at the example above. Your goal is to better understand the concepts of linear regression and linear correlation so that you can pass your midterm. In order to successfully remember these concepts, you decided to ask more questions (adapt to the environment), ask your study group to discuss these topics in more detail (changing the environment to fit your needs), and turn your class notes into a game of Jeopardy (changing your environment to fit your needs). These are all adaptations that you made in order to achieve your goal of passing the midterm.

Unlock Content Over 8,500 lessons in all major subjects

Get FREE access for 5 days,
just create an account.

Start a FREE trial

No obligation, cancel anytime.

Want to learn more?

Select a subject to preview related courses:

Start your free trial to take this quiz
As a premium member, you can take this quiz and also access over 8,500 fun and engaging lessons in math, English, science, history, and more. Get access today with a FREE trial!
Free 5-day trial
It only takes a minute to get started. You can cancel at any time.
Already registered? Login here for access.


  • Psychology Courses
  • Supplemental Lessons
  • Popular Articles

Search Our Courses

Did you like this?
Yes No

Thanks for your feedback!

What didn't you like?

What didn't you like?

Education Portal Video Lessons

The smarter way to study Short videos, Real results
  • More affordable than tutoring
  • All major high school and college subjects
  • Unlimited access to all 8,500+ video Lessons
  • Study on your own schedule
Try it Free
Copyright