Essay on The Psychology of Problem Solving

Words: 1050
Pages: 5

Where there is a problem there is a solution. No matter how complicated nor how elusive the solution is one is always there. Problems are the basis of jobs and careers: restaurants for hunger, movies and video games for boredom, news for information etc. However, with basic problems that have a set solution there are a variety of ways to solve it.

Working backwards, although slightly different, is a widely used and very effective way of solving problems. 1 (Referring to page "Problem I") Most people would look at this problem and would loathe solving it because it would involve creating a long complicated algebraic problem. Using the method of working backwards even a child who hasn't learned algebra can solve the same problem and
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Of course the best choice is the one that is most likely to work, however if it fails trial and error takes over. Doing the problem is the act of applying the solution to see if the problem is solved. Finally evaluating the results is the act of looking back to see it the problem has been solved or the desired effect has been reached.

Sometimes we can't solve a problem because we are frustrated about its difficulty, or perhaps we have never solved a problem like this before. Two obstacles that can get in our way are known as functional fixedness and mental set. Functional fixedness is the habit to think of an object as only having one use. For example one may have a screw driver and need a lever. A screw driver's intended use is to drive screws into wood, however it can also be used to pry things as a lever. Another obstacle in problem solving is known as mental set. A mental set is the tendency to solve problems in the same way despite the fact that the problem may be different than the last. "For example, a child may enter a store by pushing a door open. Every time they come to a door after that, the child pushes the door expecting it to open even though many doors only open by pulling. This child has a mental set for opening doors."

When a problem becomes so intense and so frustrating one may have to walk away for a moment or even a day. Although you may think you've stop thinking about a problem, cognitively your brain continues to