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Reading People: Non-Verbal Communication
Non Verbal Reasoning Skills
September, 2005, by The Critical Thinking Co.™ Staff

As anyone who has traveled to a foreign land with only a very limited knowledge of the local language can tell you, verbal skills are only half of the pie. Even though speech is the most obvious form of communication, we are constantly bombarded with non-verbal cues and required to decipher non-verbal symbols every day. As important as verbal skills and reasoning are, non-verbal reasoning skills are just as important.

Non-verbal reasoning involves drawing conclusions based on a set of givens. Exercises include activities like describing the similarities and differences between two pictures, finding the shape that does not belong in a sequence of shapes, predicting what shape should next appear in the sequence, and so on. Non-verbal reasoning exercises can also include numerical and aural activities, where non-speech sounds must be matched, differentiated, or compared and contrasted.

Practicing non-verbal reasoning is important because it forces the brain to use resources other than those that respond to speech and the written word. Non-verbal reasoning serves to reinforce verbal reasoning by emphasizing the type of thinking involved apart from the verbal default. Both verbal and non-verbal reasoning should be practiced regularly--and not just because they show up on standardized tests.

Critical thinking is the use of logic and reason to evaluate a set of known information to discover the correct solution, accept or reject a given argument, or make an appropriate decision. Not coincidentally, critical thinking is behind everything The Critical Thinking Co. develops. Our products are used in homes and top-performing high schools around the country because they yield results.