The Psychology of Problem Solving

Topics: Problem solving, How to Solve It, Cognition Pages: 3 (1061 words) Published: November 10, 2006
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 maybe even faster. Working backwards takes one to the answer and then works backwards throughout the problem to see how the solution was reached.

Means-Ends analysis is another way to solve a problem. "...combines aspects of both forward and backward reasoning in that both the condition and action portions of rules are looked at when considering which rule to apply." In some ways is the same as Working backwards, but different in the aspect of seeing the answer and finding the means it took to make it to that answer. 2 "However, even without the ordering of differences according to importance, MEA improves over other search heuristics (again in the average case) by focusing the problem solving on the actual differences between the current state and that of the goal." This meaning that one looks at the problem, and the solution then can figure out the difference between them and how to reach the desired solution.

"In trial and error, one tries an option to see if it works. If it works, then we have a solution. If it doesn't work - there is an error - then one tries another option." Although it is slightly lengthy it can be an extremely effective way to solve any given problem. "The scientific method can be...
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