Problem solving (psychology)
Smith, Kip Cognitive Systems Engineering Laboratory, Linköping Institute of Technology, Linköping, Sweden.
Johnson, Paul E. School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Last reviewed:January 2019
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- Research in problem solving
- Approaches to studying problem solving
- Attention as a resource and constraint on problem solving
- Computer applications
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The analysis and solution of problems by the use of mental processes. Cognitive psychology, which is a branch of psychology concerned with mental activities such as learning, memory, perception, and reasoning, seeks to understand the integral processes involved in solving problems (Fig. 1). In general, problems represent gaps between where one is and where one wishes to be, or between what one knows and what one wishes to know. Problem solving, especially in the psychological sense, is the process of closing these gaps by finding missing information, reevaluating what is already known, or (in some cases) redefining the problem. The objective of problem solving is to overcome a problematic difficulty by enacting a solution that ultimately resolves the issue. See also: Brain; Cognition; Information processing (psychology); Intelligence; Learning; Memory; Perception; Psychology
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