Raising the next generation of rational thinkers

16 September 2020

Rational Thinkers. Illustration by kurzgesagt.
A five-minute animated explainer video

How do children become rational human beings who are capable of contributing to civil society? The relevant skills – such as the ability to distinguish strong from weak arguments in public discourse – start to develop very early, and as with any skills children learn, their caregivers and environment can support or impede this process.

Starting when we are very young, our beliefs about important topics such as politics, education, and economics are influenced by many different sources of information. The news we read, the content we see online and the people we interact with inevitably influence our thinking. To make informed decisions, we have to sift through a flood of information and sometimes even abandon some of our deeply-rooted views when confronted with evidence to the contrary.

We humans are very social animals; although we are able to think independently, we do so much more often in the company of others. How can we maintain a productive social discourse among ourselves, prevent polarization, build consensus and thus contribute to a healthy democracy?

Our latest video addresses the question of how we can help our children to develop their argumentation skills and become rational people who are able to make well-founded decisions.


Video produced by kurzgesagt for BOLD – Blog on Learning and Development.

Script by Jan Engelmann and Tania Jenkins/catta gmbh.

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