THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING

THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING

images (11)Peter A. Frensch
Department of Psychology,Humboldt University,Berlin,Germany

Summary
Human thinking, and in particular,the human ability to solve complex,real-life problems contributes more than any other human ability to the development of human culture and the growth and development of human life on earth.However,the human ability to solve complex problems is still not well understood, partly because it has for a long time been largely ignored by traditional problem-solving research in the field of psychology.In this article, we present a definition of complex problem solving and describe a theoretical framework that accommodates the theoretical and empirical strides that have been made in understanding complex problem solving thus far and may serve as a guide for future research.We discuss the dominant methodological approaches that have been employed to study complex problem solving,and offer our own recommendations on which of the various approaches might be the most promising.
Introduction
March 28, 1979,Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania(Associated Press)
One of the Three Mile Island reactors was shut down for routine refueling on March 28.The other,Unit 2,was humming along quietly until,at 3:53 a.m.,terrible events began with a whoosh.The fail-safe system failed.Three valves on auxiliary pumps that should have been open weren’t.And the chain of human error and mechanical breakdown grew, multiplied,and turned a routine glitch into the worst nuclear accident in the 22 years since the U.S. nation began using nuclear power.

THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING

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