The Psychology Of Problem Solving

If we think of Knut's fairly ill-defined task of writing an essay, he will not be able to complete this task without first understanding the text he has to write about. Interestingly, ill-defined problems often involve subproblems that are well-defined.One dominant approach to Problem Solving originated from Gestalt psychologists in the 1920s.Though all these problems were of crucial importance during the evolutionary process that created us the way we are, they are by no means solved exclusively by humans.

For this essay we will mainly focus on those problems that are not solved by animals or evolution, that is, all kinds of abstract problems (e.g. Furthermore, we will not consider those situations as problems that have an obvious solution: Imagine Knut decides to take a sip of coffee from the mug next to his right hand.

He does not even have to think about how to do this.

Their understanding of problem solving emphasises behaviour in situations requiring relatively novel means of attaining goals and suggests that problem solving involves a process called restructuring.

Since this indicates a perceptual approach, two main questions have to be considered: This is what we are going to do in the following part of this section.

Knut is sitting at his desk again, staring at a blank paper in front of him, while nervously playing with a pen in his right hand.

Just a few hours left to hand in his essay and he has not written a word.In current research internal and external representations are distinguished: The first kind is regarded as the knowledge and structure of memory, while the latter type is defined as the knowledge and structure of the environment, such like physical objects or symbols whose information can be picked up and processed by the perceptual system autonomously.On the contrary the information in internal representations has to be retrieved by cognitive processes.All of a sudden he smashes his fist on the table and cries out: "I need a plan!" That thing Knut is confronted with is something everyone of us encounters in his daily life. These are just a few of the questions we want to answer in this chapter.Treatment manuals available upon request for patients with depression and breast cancer, depression and heart failure, depression and hypertension, and veterans with housing instability (contact Dr.Arthur Nezu) Important Note: The books listed above are based on empirically-supported in-person treatments.In addition we will also consider how experts do solve problems and finally we will have a closer look at two topics: The neurophysiological background on the one hand and the question what kind of role can be assigned to evolution regarding problem solving on the other.The most basic definition is “A problem is any given situation that differs from a desired goal”.They have not necessarily been evaluated empirically either by themselves or in conjunction with in-person treatment.We list them as a resource for clinicians who assign them as an adjunct to conducting in-person treatment.


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