PSYC 213 Lecture Notes - Problem Solving, Divergent Thinking, Resource Allocation

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25 Apr 2012
PSYC 213 Problem Solving March 6, 2012
Topic for final 2 classes: Autism (examination of the neurodevelopment syndrome of
autism with special emphasis placed on understanding the prevailing social cognitive
What is problem solving?
When we cannot immediately recall an answer from memory we have a
o Calculating 2 X 2 should not be a problem
o Calculating how to repay your student loan in the shortest period of time
could be a problem
Problem-solving involves going beyond the given information and transforming
it to get an answer to a question
Problem-solving relies on many cognitive processes
o Attention (attending to the aspects of the problem that are most impt)
o Memory (bringing to mind strategies/techniques that worked in the past)
o Language (understanding and communicating the problem)
Long thought to be a unique human ability
o E.g. Koehler
Problem solving cycle
o 7 general steps taken while solving problems
o Problem identification
o Identifying that you have a problem can sometimes be a difficult step!
e.g. writing a term paper
o Problem definition
o Once we have identified that we have a problem, we need to define and
represent it well
e.g. topic of your paper scope audience
o This is a critical step, because if the problem is inaccurately defined, we
are less likely to solve it
o Constructing a strategy
o How do we go about solving our problem?
o Analytic approach breaking the problem into pieces
o Synthesis approach putting the various elements together
o Divergent thinking generate a number of different ways of solving the
o Convergent thinking narrow down to plausible ways
o Organization of information
o Once you have a strategy you need to organize your information
o You may need to revisit this step
o Resource allocation
o Often times problem solving is constrained e.g. by money, space or time
o Skipped 6
o Evaluation
o Did we get it right? How was the solution?
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