Functions Of Thinking : The information-Processing Approach

The information-processing appproach analyzes problem-solving as a series of steps in a sequential process. Research suggests that problem-solvers pursue their tasks one strategy at a time.

1. Algorithms

One strategy for problem-solving involves using a procedure or formula guaranteed to produce a solution, known as an algorithm. For example, to calculate the area of an rectangle, multiply the length by the width. Like all formulas, this one for quadrangle area is an algorithm.

Algorithms are sure but not always expedient. For example, the algorithm for reassembling the anagram CINERAMA into another word would be to try every possible combination of letters until one makes sense. This would be a time-consuming procedure compared with the relatively quick payoff provided by the perception that the solution is the common term for a citizen of the United States.

2. Means-End Analysis

Another strategy for problem-solving is means-end analysis, a process of repeatedly comparing the present situation with the desired goal and reducing the difference between the two. This is the usual strategy for solving household problems like how to do laundry, how to prepare a meal, or how to dress a child.

The information-processing appproach analyzes problem-solving as a series of steps in a sequential process. Research suggests that problem-solvers pursue their tasks one strategy at a time.

1. Algorithms

One strategy for problem-solving involves using a procedure or formula guaranteed to produce a solution, known as an algorithm. For example, to calculate the area of an rectangle, multiply the length by the width. Like all formulas, this one for quadrangle area is an algorithm.

Algorithms are sure but not always expedient. For example, the algorithm for reassembling the anagram CINERAMA into another word would be to try every possible combination of letters until one makes sense. This would be a time-consuming procedure compared with the relatively quick payoff provided by the perception that the solution is the common term for a citizen of the United States.

2. Means-End Analysis

Another strategy for problem-solving is means-end analysis, a process of repeatedly comparing the present situation with the desired goal and reducing the difference between the two. This is the usual strategy for solving household problems like how to do laundry, how to prepare a meal, or how to dress a child.

Thinking is the operating skill whereby intelligence acts upon experience. ~ Edward De Bono

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