How we think, communicate, and solve problems are essential elements of being human.
Thinking (cognition) is influenced by how the information is mentally represented, which can come in the form of:
- images, which are often mental representations that have a picture-like quality.
- concepts, which are ideas that represent a group of objects or events that allow us to think abstractly.
- language, which includes words or symbols and the rules for combining them, is used for thinking and communication. Language is an especially powerful way to encode information and manipulate ideas.
- Insights occur when answers appear suddenly, usually as a result of reorganizing the elements of the problem.
- Mechanical solutions may be achieved by trial and error or by rote. This strategy is how computers solve some problems.
- Heuristics are strategies that aid problem solving, especially by limiting the number of possible solutions to be tried.
- Understanding (deeper comprehension of a problem) is necessary to solve some problems.
Creativity can be enhanced by strategies that promote divergent thinking.
- Try different approaches.Restating the problem in different ways may enhance creativity.
- Define Broadly. Often we restrict our creativity by focusing on a narrow aspect of a situation without considering a wider viewpoint.
- Break Mental Sets. A tendency to perceive a problem in a certain way is called a mental set and may impede problem solving.
- Look for Analogies. Look for analogies where similar problems exist and may have already been solved.