Cognitive Problem Solving

Cognitive Problem Solving-44
Problems can be generally broken down into two categories; well-defined problems and ill-defined problems.Well-defined problems have a clear starting and ending point, such as how to make it bright in a room that's currently dark.

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It's something you can still try to solve, but you may not know exactly what the outcome will look like.

Because you face such a variety of problems each day from the simple to the complex, your brain has several different ways of solving problems. This means that you just take random guesses until something finally works.

Nevertheless, the research is clear that working toward a broader perspective and more positive attitude can have a remarkable impact on how well you do in many cognitive arenas!

- [Narrator] What's the best route to your new job? You may not even realize it, but you are an excellent problem solver.

Each of these questions represents a problem that we sometimes face.

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Just a few seconds ago, you figured out how to start this video, and that may not feel like a huge accomplishment compared to, say, coming up with the theory of relativity, but every time you engage in an action or thought pattern to move from your current state toward a goal state, you're solving a problem.If you're using the trial and error method of problem-solving, then you would just try any random combination of letters and numbers until something works.As you can probably tell, that approach would take forever.Perhaps more important, though, the chapter makes it clear that intellectual performance is often shaped by factors that don’t seem, strictly speaking, to be “intellectual” in nature.Concretely, performance in intellectual pursuits is often undermined by expectations of failure and fears that your poor showing will only confirm people’s worst beliefs about you.Guided by these fears, you’re likely to become anxious, which by itself can undermine your performance.You’re also likely to interpret early frustrations, or slow progress, as “proof” that the problems you’re working on are actually beyond your abilities.In this case, then, knowing the actual facts is helpful!Another study, discussed in the chapter, asked middle-school students to write a few sentences, at various points during the school year, about things they valued—athletic ability, or being good at art, or creativity, or whatever.This is, by the way, why homework exercises are often useful.The exercises sometimes seem redundant, but the redundancy turns out to have a function.


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