Problem Solving and Creativity-Introduction to Psycology-Lecture Handout, Exercises for Introduction to Psychology

Problem Solving and Creativity-Introduction to Psycology-Lecture Handout, Exercises for Introduction to Psychology

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Microsoft Word - Introduction to Psychology _Complete_

Introduction to Psychology –PSY101 VU

Lesson 30


Specific cues are used for drawing inferences.Inductive Thinking

By using observation, knowledge and experience, different sets of inferences are drawn about the phenomenon of interest.Small bits of information are used to draw the general conclusion. The person uses his or her observation, knowledge, and experience of specific case and infers general rules.For example, if you have been noticing that your teacher is very soft spoken, usually marks you present even when you are

late for the class, and forgives your mistakes, then you might take chance for late submission of your assignment.

The major shortcoming of this type of thinking is that the conclusions may be biased, or the evidence used for drawing conclusions may be invalid, insufficient, or may be just a chance occurrence. Whereas appropriate conclusions have to beunbiased.

Thinking and Decision- Making

It is one of the most complicated forms of thinking.Cognitive psychologists are still focusing on the components and processes that underlie this type of thinking.An important area in which the cognitive psychologists are most interested.For many years psychologists have attempted to explain the processes involved for decision making, and solving problems.

The most famous examples of which are

Thorndike’s trial and error problem solving.Kohler’s insight problem solving.

Mental shortcuts

Algorithms and Heuristics

Algorithms: A rule, if it is applied, ensures the solution to the problem.Algorithms are always accurate.We do not necessarily understand their logical basis e.g. algebraic formula

Algorithms and Heuristics

Algorithms: A rule, if it is applied, ensures the solution to the problem.

Algorithms are always accurate.We do not necessarily understand their logical basis e.g. algebraic formula

Heuristics: A rule of thumb that if used can be effective in finding solutions to problems, but may not

ensure or guarantee this.

For example rules for playing naught and crosses, or preparing only the ‘important’ parts of the course for the exam. Problem Solving

Thinking for the sake of finding solutions to problems. • Three major steps are involved in solving a problem.

i. Preparation for finding the solutions

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Introduction to Psychology –PSY101

ii. Producing the solutions iii. Appraisal of the solutions that have been generated

There are two types of problems: a. Well- defined problem. b. ill- defined problem.

Well- Defined Problem


Clear, definite and well-formed problem. Means of solving that problem are available. E.g. when solving the mathematical equation in which the problem is rather difficult, but the method used to solve it is direct and available.

Ill- Defined Problem

Indefinite, unclear, ill- formed problem whose nature is not specifically defined and the ways for solving them is also difficult__ how do we build the morale of the crowd when their own team is losing the match???

. In this, the problem is not specific and so the solution.The main shortcoming of this type of problem is that it is not possible to draw the immediate and absolute conclusions and

solutions of the problem.

Kinds of Problems

Problems are typically of three types

Arrangement problems Problems of inducing structuresTransformation problems

Arrangement ProblemsSolutions of the problems require rearrangement and re evaluation of the components so that certain criterion will be

satisfiedThere are a number of solutions to certain problems, but there are only specific solutions that fulfill certain requirements

e.g. solving mathematical equation

Problems of Inducing Structures

It refers to the problems whose solution depends on the relationship of components among them so that new construct which has a relationship can be developed.

e.g. see and tall what number comes next? 221- 412- 321- 512- 421- 612-. Firstly, one has to consider the existingrelationship between these numbers then make out the other relationship


Transformation Problems

Problems that require understanding and that should be solved in a manner that involves series of methods so that the initial problematic state can be changed into the goal attaining state.

Steps for Problem Solving

Four steps are important for solving certain problem.

Means- ends analysis: Repeated testing of the behavior in order to lessen the distance between the goal and current existence e.g. taking instructions or asking questions forsolving puzzles

Sub goals: Divide the problem into small element and then solve them in steps or sequentially

Insight:Instant awareness of the relationship among the existing components, which © Copyright Virtual University of Pakistan 173

Introduction to Psychology –PSY101 VU

formally seems independent of each other. A German psychologist Wolfgang Kohler wasone of the first psychologists who observed this phenomenon, especially when facingchallenges.

Evaluation of solution: The final step in problem solving which involves appraising theexisting solution of the problem to demonstrate whether the solution is adequate or not.

Impediments to Problem Solving

There are various factors, which serve as an obstacle in finding solutions. They are;

Functional fixedness.Mental set.

Functional fixedness is the capacity to think about certain phenomena in its most typical use or form.Mental set is the tendency to think of a solution in a most old patterned ways___ old means of finding andanswering problems.

Creativity and Thinking

The word “creative” is derived from the Latin word “creare” means “to make” or Greek word “Krainein” means, “ to fulfill”.

Creativity may be defined as the innovative, novel responses and ideas into a harmonious whole/ form.

Creativity can be flourished by two means;Inspiration.Hard work.

Stages in Creative Thinking:

Creativity mainly involves four steps; Preparation, Incubation,Illumination, Verification, Revision.

i. Preparation: It includes assembling or combining the material and think thoroughly about it. ii. Incubation: After thinking intensely about the certain problem, the person lets his mind free by putting the

problem aside and let its solution incubate in the mind. iii. Illumination: It also refers to as “ insight” when innovative ideas are instantly generated__ a sudden flash

comes to mind when one is brainstorming at it. Scientific innovations are one of the examples. iv.Verification: Evaluation of the problem to find out whether the solution is correct or not v.Revision: This involves the whole of the above steps involved that should be used in order to reach on

some solution

Factors Associated With Creativity

The main factors that may contribute in enhancing creativity is i.Divergent thinking,

ii.Convergent thinking.Divergent thinking involves varied thoughts and solutions to a certain problem.

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Introduction to Psychology –PSY101 VU

Convergent thinking includes various thoughts and solutions for a particular problem.

Creative thinking is ‘GOING BEYOND’ Creative thinking is going beyond:

The obvious The defined The laid outThe conventionalThe commonThe usual

Creative thinking is:The ability to generate a variety of unusual solutions to a problemCreative thinking is:

OpenOriginalImaginative UninhibitedExcitingFulfillingLateralMay be stray and wild at times

Lateral versus Vertical ThinkingLateral thinking

Finds new ways of looking at thingsAvoids looking for what is “right” or” wrong”.Analyzes ideas to generate new ideasConsiders the irrelevantProgresses by avoiding the obvious

Vertical thinking

Tries to find absolutesSeeks continuityFinds what is right: seeks “yes” or “no” justifications Looks for stability: rejects irrelevant information. Uses established patterns & considers the obvious.

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Introduction to Psychology –PSY101

Lateral Thinking


A deliberate process and set of techniques for generating new ideas by changing an individual’s or team’s way of perceiving and interpreting information; as opposed to vertical thinking i.e., a logicalstep-by-step process of developing ideas by proceeding continuously from one bit of information to the next.

Lateral/Creative Problem Solving

Reversal Technique: examining problem and turning it completely around; inside out or upside down.

Analogy Technique: developing a statement about similarities between objects, persons, orsituations.

Cross Fertilization Technique: asking experts from other fields (totally different fields) toview the problem and suggest methods for solving it from their own area of interest.

Assessing and Examining Creative Thinking Name all the things you can think of that areround/circularin shape.List as many white, edible things as you can. List all the uses that you can think of a watermelon.List all the possible uses of a pencil.Mr. X has been told a number of times to be in office at 9 but he is always late. WHY???Ms. Q has a number of clothes, but she has been wearing the same dress for the last two

weeks. WHY???Your rich client comes to your office. You offer him coffee but he refuses. WHY???

“You can become what you imagine yourself to be!!!”As If:

Appearing for an interview Imagine As if youwere to introduce yourself to an interviewing board.

Think As if youwere introducing yourself to an interviewing board.

Act As if youwere actually introducing yourself to an interviewing boardThinking Loud Your friends Z and X have stopped talking to each other, whereas they have to work together in the

same office.

a: Think of as many reasons as you can of the dispute.b: Think of as many ways as you can of a possible patch up planned by you.

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Introduction to Psychology –PSY101

Creative Thinking and Problem Solving

Clearly thinking about all possible aspects of the issue before taking decisive action


The cases of shop lifting in a super market rose to such a high level that they had to increase the prices. They hired guards but that did not work much. However they finally found a solid solution.How???

Concept ChallengeChallenging the established ideas for new solutions

Women should do house work.In solving disputes all parties should have equal part in decision-making.

Cognitive ComplexityPersons who are high in cognitive complexity are interested in use of more philosophical and abstract ways of thinking___ these types of people give preference in using complex, abstractand intricate stimuli and thinking patterns. Comedy, jokes and humor is its best example

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