Have you ever thought of how you cognitively solve a problem? Most of us don’t really think about the background fundamentals of cognitive functioning to solving a problem. Problems are defined as “an obstacle between where we currently are and a goal.” (PSU World Campus, 2013, L 13). Everything we set to accomplish in a day, can be seen as a problem. Cognitively we go through a series of processes to accomplish every task at hand. Depending on the type of problem, the way our minds process the situation, and the obstacles in the way of solving the problems; will determine the type of strategies used to solve the problem at hand. To help illustrate this process let’s start by defining a problem I have on an everyday basis; family scheduling.
I define family scheduling the way I arrange for everyone to meet week to week obligations. Every week I have to set a schedule for the entire family to make sure everyone gets their commitments. There is definitely more than one way this ill-defined problem is solved. There are 3 people, 2 of them are children residing in my home and everyone has an obligation each week that I have to ensure they meet. The obligations I have to make sure everyone meets weekly is one of the children is school aged and has a certain time they must meet the bus to arrive to school and a certain time I must be available to pick them up from the bus stop. This person also have extracurricular activities and functions that are a part of their life. My other child is special needs and has eight therapies in a 5 day period and a rigorous feeding schedule, as well as just being a child. I also have at least one doctor’s appointment, household duties and four college classes I am committed too. So as you can imagine some creative thinking or innovative thinking is needed to manage all these duties with one vehicle (PSU World Campus, 2016, L8). If I become fixated on all the tasks that needed to be done every week it could possibly divert me from achieving a solution and getting overwhelmed. So I lay everything out from mandatory tasks to minor tasks and schedule accordingly. Since some of the tasks are dependent on others. I must first find the problematic areas, then set the expectation that everything needs to be spread out of the week, as I go through this process I evaluate as each task is assigned to a slot to see if any revisions need to be made. I think out loud and take notes on paper to restructure tasks on paper until the final revisions are sought. I may have to reorganize the structure several times until it all fits.
Goldstein, B. (2011). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience (3rd ed.). Wadsworth, Inc. ISBN: 978-0840033499.
PSU World Campus. (2016). Problem Solving, Lesson 13. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1804143/modules/items/21169401