11 Common Barriers To Critical Thinking – A Simple Guide

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

Critical thinking is the capacity to think in a clear and rational way. It’s a perspective related to what one should do and what one believes.

But what makes critical thinking a harder task to do. There are some barriers that come in the way of critical thinking.

Critical thinking is just not about collecting information. If you have a good IQ and know a lot of things, you can totally nail it.

A person can do critical thinking only if he can conclude results from his knowledge.

11 Most Common Barriers To Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a skill that everyone should have. It helps you make decisions and solve problems, but it can be difficult to use when there are barriers in your way.

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the most common barriers to critical thinking and how you can overcome them.

1. Not Being Able To Tell The Difference Between A Fact And An Opinion

The first barrier to critical thinking is confusing facts with opinions. Facts are indisputable and indubitable, whereas opinions are not.

Everyone has different opinions about things, so it’s important to understand the difference between facts and opinions.

Here are some examples of facts you can easily check:

– The distance from the earth to the sun is approximately 93 million miles.

– The sky is blue.

– The human population was 7 billion in 2012.

2. The Person Is Too Self-Obsessed To See Anything Else:

It is the most difficult barrier that makes a person see nothing but themselves. These people consider themselves as an important asset for the world.

This barrier won’t let you acknowledge other people. 

Egocentric Thinking As A Barrier To Critical Thinking
The Person Is Too Self-Obsessed To See Anything Else

They just want to create a sense of authority.

Critical thinking demands to analyze different aspects to test their validity. Also, finding good aspects of these perspectives is a portion of critical thinking.

But being self-obsessed is the most difficult barrier to overcome.

SEE ALSO: 7 Barriers To Effective Listening

3. A Trend Of Brainstorming Together – A Barrier To Critical Thinking:

The nature of critical thinking stands on famous objectives, beliefs, and ideas. When people think collectively, it hardens for everyone to think in their own space.

Everyone relies on what the majority decides and thinks in that direction.

Critical thinking requires that people have to think differently while in a group.

Group Thinking As A Barrier To Critical Thinking
A Trend Of Brainstorming Together – A Barrier To Critical Thinking

To break this barrier, everyone in the group must maintain their individuality.

Everyone should think according to their own style even if they are working in a group.

SEE ALSO: Groupthink Vs Group Polarization – Healthy Discussion

4. Barriers To Critical Thinking – Emotions Are Heavier Than The Logic:

People are becoming more sensitive to the opposite views as time passes. So when people have to face the challenge of disagreement, logic flies out of the window.

And then irrelevant reactions take the place of logic that defies reason and disturbs management.

It’s a barrier to deciding based on emotions and emotion-based decision-making is bad for organizations.

5. The Competition Is Real Hard:

This obstacle treats conversations and discourages competitive sports. The main aim of everyone is to win, not to seek learning.

Sophistry And Rhetoric
The Competition Is Real Hard

The greater interest of both sides is in winning the argument than in reaching the truth.

Though this concept has its function in a courtroom. And it has nothing to do with the other real life. But even then this is an important barrier to consider.

6. Barriers To Critical Thinking – Overly Relying On Experiences: 

When this barrier comes to the table of discussion, there are many people who get defensive.

It doesn’t mean that there is no value for the experience. Of course, experience has its own place, but one should not rely only on experience.

The Universality Of Experience
Barriers To Critical Thinking – Overly Relying On Experiences

An individual’s experience is his own experience. It doesn’t define what others experience or what happens outside his sphere.

Every person is different. Even the geographical regions are different. So you need to consider experience as an individual’s experience.

7. Accepting Statements Of Superhumans:

This barrier occurs when we test statements based on who said it rather than merit. In such cases, people accept statements to be true.

If someone they respect or like said these. They don’t pay attention to whether the statement is true or not.

Contrary to that, people would reject a statement if it comes from a person they don’t like.

Removing this barrier is difficult. Because people have already made up their minds. They would accept something from a respected person and vice versa.

8. Intellect Is Greater Than Excellence:

For a very long period of time, IQ i.e. intelligence quotient was a measure for intelligence.

But the passing time told us that intelligence has a different number of dimensions.

High Reliance On IQ As A Barrier
Intellect Is Greater Than Excellence

There is no longer only one perspective to look at intelligence.

Still, some companies consider IQ the only measurement for intelligence. This can be a barrier when companies would miss out on people who could prove to be excellent.

If they got a chance and their intelligence got measured in a correct way.

9. Blindly Going Behind What A Myth Says:

Following myths is something that relates to accepting things based on stereotyping.

As we know that stereotypes and assumptions ignore individualistic thinking. These are the factors that hinder the person’s will to analyze the facts and figures.

It also makes people believe what they are doing is right. So they won’t be able to recognize and accept that they are making assumptions.

In such conditions, people can never identify that their judgments base on stereotypes.

10. Barriers To Critical Thinking – Grinding In The Same Cycle:

It happens when an individual falls into a routine. Even the most open-minded people can fell prey to this.

We don’t mean that routine is a bad thing. But it lessens one’s ability to think in an analytical way.

If a person has to do the same thing day after day, week after week, or even for his whole life.

He would forget how to respond to new situations and lose leadership. Moreover, he would begin to shy away from new situations.

Drone Mentality As A Barrier To Critical Thinking
Barriers To Critical Thinking – Grinding In The Same Cycle

So convenience can be great but it can take a toll on the capability of critical thinking.

11. Following The Power:

This barrier is about accepting someone’s view or assertion based on their level of authority.

You may be accepting your boss’ views about a certain topic and you think the opposite to that.

But you are doing so because of the authority of the boss and the discipline of the organization.

It involves the factor of respect or admiration while the former involves accepting views based on authority.

Now the problem is not with accepting the view of a boss or an expert. The real problem comes when we are not allowed to question it.


Remember neither to confuse critical thinking with being argumentative. Nor it relates to being critical about others.

Critical thinking is so important because it exposes fallacies and bad reasoning.

It also plays an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks.

The barriers discussed in this article are important to note. But it’s not impossible or difficult at all to remove these barriers.

Do mention in a comment which barrier you think you are facing.

Last Updated on 3 months by Assma Riaz

Shahzaib Arshad
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