The Critical Thinking Initiative


“Ray, when someone asks you if you’re a god, you say “Yes!” — Ghostbusters

Frequently Asked Questions

Asking questions is the foundation of critical thinking and problem solving. Here is a (growing) list of the questions we get asked most often.

“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

What’s the smarter question we forgot to ask? You ask it. We’ll answer it.

What’s your overall mission?
We’re devoted to improving how much people think, whether it be through academia, businesses, parents looking to help their children, or anyone who simply wants better ways to reason, ideate, make decisions, and problem solve.
How does The Critical Thinking Initiative work?
We work through several different avenues. For individuals who want to improve their critical thinking skills, we offer direct online training in a unique, neuro-biologically rooted method of critical thinking that includes reading, writing, discussion, and presentations. It works across all fields. We offer similar critical thinking training for parents who want to provide their children critical thinking skills to improve their life skills and academics. For educational institutions, we offer training for faculty members in how to improve the critical thinking outcomes in their classes, which also elevates student engagement and other learning outcomes. And for corporations, we provide training for executives and managers in critical thinking, decision making, problem identification, solving wicked or complex problems, and ideating.
What makes The Critical Thinking Initiative different from other critical thinking sites?

Three factors make us distinct: First, everything we do is rooted firmly in peer-reviewed research from multiple disciplines, including but not limited to education, psychology, and neuroscience. If you listen to our podcasts—The Critical Thinking Initiative podcast and the Smarterer podcast—you’ll see that research drives everything we do. Second, we bring the experience of people who actually raised critical thinking outcomes at an academic institution.  Not all people teaching ideas about critical thinking actually needed to produce results.  We did.  Third, we developed a unique model for critical thinking that is rooted in neuro-biology, that works across all fields and disciplines, that incorporates cognitive dispositions and biases, but that remains easily accessible, applicable, and assessable. 

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What is your refund policy?
  • TCTI Online: We’re happy to refund a video purchase provided you did not yet begin the video program. We’re sorry, but once you’ve started watching our program, we obviously cannot offer you a refund.
  • TCTI Books and Materials: For materials direct through this website, return any materials within 30 days for a full refund. For materials purchased through any third-party retailers, their return policies apply.

We help people and organizations think better

The Critical Thinking Initiative comprises leading experts in research-based critical thinking education, instruction, and training. 

TCTI offers a full suite of services all aimed at developing and strengthening critical thinking from the classroom to the boardroom. 

Online Training

The only course that develops and strengthens the brain’s neuro-biological foundations for critical thinking.

Online Training


Empower of your personnel with the means of assessing decisions, solutions, and corporate communications



We distill research from education, neuroscience, psychology and other fields into ideas you can put into practice.



Steven J. Pearlman Ph.D.

Steve founded The Critical Thinking Initiative to fill the gap between advanced academic research on critical thinking and anyone who recognizes the value of exceptional critical thinking skills for themselves or their children. Steve’s journey began over thirty years ago when teaching writing and critical thinking in higher education at elite liberal arts colleges and large state universities. In 2011, Steve founded one of the United States’ first and only departments in higher education specifically focused on teaching critical thinking skills. His work resulted in something exceptionally rare in academia: documented, campus-wide improvements in critical thinking.

Since then, Steve has presented at countless educational institutions, conferences, and businesses about improving critical thinking and related habits of mind. He is frequently found in national and international media, including CBS Atlanta, The Hill, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Connecticut Today, First Coast Connect, The Nation Speaks, and Point of View Radio.

While ever dedicated to helping educators spread the critical thinking message, Steve believes that critical thinking skills are so important that they shouldn’t be confined to academia alone. He therefore founded The Critical Thinking Initiative so that any individual, parent, child, and/or educator could access the kind of critical thinking training that everyone needs.

Read more about the national crisis in critical thinking education in Steve’s book, America’s Critical Thinking Crisis: The Failure and Promise of Education, and join Steve on his podcasts: Critically, We Think and Headagogy (for educators).