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Common barriers[ edit ] Common barriers to problem solving are mental constructs that impede our ability to correctly solve problems. These barriers prevent people from solving problems in the most efficient manner possible.
Five of the most common processes and factors that researchers have identified as barriers to problem solving are confirmation biasmental setfunctional fixednessunnecessary constraints, and irrelevant information. Confirmation bias Confirmation bias is an unintentional bias caused by the collection and use of data in a way that favors a preconceived notion.
The beliefs affected by confirmation bias do not need to have motivationthe desire to defend or find substantiation for beliefs that are important to that person. Andreas Hergovich, Reinhard Schott, and Christoph Burger's experiment conducted online, for instance, suggested that professionals within the field of psychological research are likely to view scientific studies that agree with their preconceived notions more favorably than studies that clash with their established beliefs.
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Nickerson argued that those who killed people accused of witchcraft demonstrated confirmation bias with motivation. Researcher Michael Allen found evidence for confirmation bias with motivation in school children who worked to manipulate their science experiments in such a way that would produce favorable results.
InPeter Cathcart Wason conducted an experiment in which participants first viewed three numbers and then created a hypothesis that proposed a rule that could have been used to create that triplet of numbers.
When testing their hypotheses, participants tended to only create additional triplets of numbers that would confirm their hypotheses, and tended not to create triplets that would negate or disprove their hypotheses.
Thus research also shows that people can and do work to confirm theories or ideas that do not support or engage personally significant beliefs.
Mental set Mental set was first articulated by Abraham Luchins in the s and demonstrated in his well-known water jug experiments.
After Luchins gave his participants a set of water jug problems that could all be solved by employing a single technique, he would then give them a problem that could either be solved using that same technique or a novel and simpler method.
Luchins discovered that his participants tended to use the same technique that they had become accustomed to despite the possibility of using a simpler alternative.
However, as Luchins' work revealed, such methods for finding a solution that have worked in the past may not be adequate or optimal for certain new but similar problems.
Therefore, it is often necessary for people to move beyond their mental sets in order to find solutions. This was again demonstrated in Norman Maier 's experiment, which challenged participants to solve a problem by using a household object pliers in an unconventional manner.
Maier observed that participants were often unable to view the object in a way that strayed from its typical use, a phenomenon regarded as a particular form of mental set more specifically known as functional fixedness, which is the topic of the following section. When people cling rigidly to their mental sets, they are said to be experiencing fixation, a seeming obsession or preoccupation with attempted strategies that are repeatedly unsuccessful.
Functional fixedness Functional fixedness is a specific form of mental set and fixation, which was alluded to earlier in the Maier experiment, and furthermore it is another way in which cognitive bias can be seen throughout daily life.
Tim German and Clark Barrett describe this barrier as the fixed design of an object hindering the individual's ability to see it serving other functions.
In more technical terms, these researchers explained that "[s]ubjects become "fixed" on the design function of the objects, and problem solving suffers relative to control conditions in which the object's function is not demonstrated. In research that highlighted the primary reasons that young children are immune to functional fixedness, it was stated that "functional fixedness For instance, imagine the following situation:Explore lirik_pas's board "your essay" on Pinterest.
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