Academic Study of Problem Solving and Thinking Related to Everyday Life Essay

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Academic study of problem solving and thinking related to everyday life
Every day individuals are faced with many different problems for example deciding what to wear, finding a suitable place to park your car or even completing an assignment. Whatever the problem is, ‘problem solving is defined as any goal-directed sequence of cognitive operations’, as suggested by Anderson (1980, p.257).
There has been a vast amount of research on human problem solving which has provided a better understanding of the processes involved in problem solving. An evaluation of a range of theories related to human problem solving and thinking will be introduced such as information theory, transfer of learning and Gestalt theory and critiqued with examples
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According to Reed, 1993 the human brain carries out subconscious pattern recognition which a person has gained key skills from a previous task which they later transfer to a new task.
However transferring knowledge to one situation to another is not always positive they may be situations where the experience of a previous situation may not apply to the new yet similar situation leading to a negative transfer. An example of this is an individual knows how to drive a manual car and has a situation where they have to drive an automatic car, in this situation the individual knows how to drive however the transfer of knowledge won’t apply to the new situation as it is an automatic can therefore leading to negative transfer. Research from Woodworth (1938) as well as Leberman, McDonald and Dale, (2006) found that individuals face difficulty in transferring previous schemas onto new situations. Bransford, Brown and Cocking (2000) also agree by stating that when an individual is faced with a new situation applying previous experiences of learning can be difficult.
In addition to positive and negative transfer, near and far transfer needs to be taken into account. Isomorphic problems are between identical situations representing near transfer, an example to this would be an individual who knows how to type on computer would be able to type on a touch screen phone with an identical keyboard