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Problem solving

Last updated on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.



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Problem solving is the cognitive process of identifying, analyzing, and finding solutions to address challenges or obstacles. It involves systematically evaluating different options, applying logic, and utilizing past experiences to reach a successful resolution to a particular issue or goal.

The Art of Problem Solving in Cognitive Science and Decision Sciences


Problem solving is a fundamental aspect of cognitive science and decision sciences. It involves the process of identifying a problem, generating possible solutions, evaluating these solutions, and selecting the most appropriate one to reach a desired outcome.

Understanding the Problem

One of the key steps in problem solving is understanding the problem itself. This involves breaking down the problem into smaller components, identifying any constraints or limitations, and exploring the relationships between different elements of the problem.

Generating Solutions

Once the problem is well understood, the next step is to generate possible solutions. This can involve using strategies such as trial and error, algorithms, heuristics, or even insights gained from past experience. Creative thinking and out-of-the-box approaches are often beneficial in this stage.

Evaluating and Selecting a Solution

After generating a set of possible solutions, it's important to evaluate each one based on predefined criteria. This could involve assessing the feasibility, effectiveness, efficiency, and ethical considerations of each solution. The final step is to select the solution that best fits the problem at hand.

Iterative Nature of Problem Solving

Problem solving is rarely a linear process. It often involves iterating through the steps multiple times, revisiting and refining solutions based on new insights or feedback. This iterative approach helps in refining solutions and improving the overall problem-solving process.

Applications in Cognitive Science and Decision Sciences

The concept of problem solving is foundational in cognitive science and decision sciences. Understanding how humans solve problems can provide insights into cognitive processes such as reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving strategies. In decision sciences, problem-solving techniques are often applied in fields such as operations research, management science, and behavioral economics to optimize decision-making processes.


Problem solving is a dynamic and essential skill in both cognitive science and decision sciences. By honing problem-solving abilities, individuals can navigate complex challenges, make informed decisions, and drive innovation in various domains.


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