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Cognitive Processes in Problem Solving Essay

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Updated: Mar 14th, 2020

Introduction

Individuals are often faced with certain difficult situations that require a quick and necessary step to be taken. In as much as there may be a need to act promptly, care has to be taken before arriving at the appropriate steps to manage the situation. There have to be justifications to the course of action that is to be taken to solve a given problem.

This would involve an examination of the possible steps that could be taken and their respective advantages and disadvantages. An examination of the success of such a course of action in the past is also essential. As such, reasoning, judgment, and subsequent decision-making play important functions in a problem-solving environment.

Reasoning

The use of principles of reason is of importance in solving difficult situations. Reasoning involves providing logical arguments to make some conclusion. It is “any systematic mental process that constructs or evaluates implications from premises of some sort” (Bucciarelli, Khemlani, & Johnson-Laird, 2008, p.123).

The reasoning is concerned with developing evidence that supports a given statement before asserting that the statement is true and justifiable. It involves presenting a set of preliminary statements (referred to as premises) and the subsequent concluding statement. The premises need to be obvious, self-explanatory or those that are derived from universally accepted principles.

An individual will be convinced to accept the validity of the given premise if he or she has the cognitive ability to comprehend the statement without undue influence of the holder. Two types of reasoning are often encountered, namely, deductive and inductive reasoning (Bucciarelli, Khemlani, & Johnson-Laird, 2008, p.123). Deductive reasoning often involves considerations of general cases than making conclusions on a specific based on the general observations.

On the other hand, inductive reasoning involves consideration of a few cases then generalizing this observation on all other cases that have been observed. The latter approach is not appropriate in serious problem-solving situations as there are high chances of making false generalizations.

Judgment

The other cognitive process that is attached to reasoning is judgment. Experience comes from an analysis of the whole set of instinct or perception of an individual concerning a particular subject. As such, an individual can make a judgment that an action is good or bad depending on the intuition he or she develops from the action. Similarly, judgment can be made from the experience that an individual has had of the given subject or object.

Having encountered different deaths, an individual can make a judgment that man dies. The previous ugly consequences of a given action are good evidence to judge that the action is wrong. In this respect, a judgment will be right or wrong depending truth of the preliminary premises from which it is derived.

Decision-making

Judgment is associated with decision-making. Reasoning provides a logical approach to make a particular conclusion. The purpose of developing the logical method in a problem-solving situation is to be able to develop a justifiable solution. The individual’s intuitive judgment also comes in handy in developing an appropriate solution to the problem at hand.

The principles of reasoning and judgment then culminate into decision-making. Emotions of an individual also play an essential role in the decision-making process. In particular, it has been observed that “positive emotions increase creative problem solving and facilitate the integration of information” (Mellers, Schwartz, & Cooke, 1998, p.453).

Decision-making in a problem-solving environment involves an analysis of the possible courses of action that could be taken. Each of the possible courses of action is examined, and its advantages and disadvantages noted. The reason, as well as intuitive judgment, then enables an individual to come up with a course of action that is of the most good from among the other alternative courses of action.

References

Bucciarelli, M., Khemlani, S. and Johnson-Laird, P. (2008). The psychology of moral reasoning. Judgment and Decision Making, 3(2), pp. 121–139. Retrieved from http://journal.sjdm.org/jdm8105.pdf.

Mellers, B., Schwartz, A., and Cooke, A. (1998). Judgment and Decision Making. Annual. Review of Psychology, 49:447-477. Retrieved from http://pages.towson.edu/jpomy/behavioralecon/decision.pdf.

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