Factors affecting Problem Solving Strategics

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Factors that affect the problem solving strategies is measured on two criteria: time take in solving the problem and probability of getting the solution. An Effective solution to a problem is dependent upon a number of factors. Some of these factors are inherent in the problem solving itself, while others belong to the personal characteristics of the problem solver. Problem Solving Strategies include:

  1. Nature of the problem
  2. Degree of difference between the initial and the goal state
  3. The perceiver’s set
  4. Functional Fixedness

Problem Solving Strategies 

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1.Nature of the problem

What is the problem solving strategies, the difficulty level of the problem, etc are the part of the nature of the problem? Also if the initial state of the problem is too different from that of the final goal of the problem the difficulty level increases and solving the problem becomes somewhat difficult.

While the size of a problem is positively related with the number of elements present in the problem space, it is observed that as the size of the problem increases, it become all the more difficult to reach a solution to the problem and also it become more time-consuming. An example is the typical anagram problems, where an increase in the number of letters of the anagrams enhances the difficulty level of the problem.

2. Greater the difference between initial and goal states decrease the likelihood of a solution.

in such situations, problem space is more disorganized and therefore, the operator is required to take more steps to reach the solution. To give an example take a complete jumble of letters in an Instagram which clearly describes such a situation.

If the problem is generally one which is frequently encountered, the problem solver become familiar with the steps to be followed to reach the solution and therefore, the problem becomes less difficult

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Img Source: Tes

3. The perceiver’s Set is defined as a tendency to perceive and respond to a particular stimulus in a stereotypical manner.

Set is formed in a situation where a person successively and systematically perceives and responds to a stimulus in a similar way. Set may prove to have facilitatory, as well as the inhibiotry impact on problem-solving.

If the past experience paved the way to the formation of certain mental set, then the solution will become easier. But in case of greater difference among the experiences, the mental set would hinder finding a solution to the problem. An example of the effect of set may be observed by pronouncing the following words:

MACDONALD   MACMOHAN    MACGREGOR    MACHINERY

If you pronounced the last word as MacHinery, the effect of the set worked on you. However, the effect of the set can be minimized by increasing the time interval between practice and trial, by explicit instruction to not follow the previously learned rules and by introducing some exceptions in the practice.

4. Functional Fixedness

Generally, we categorize objects on the basis of their use in our daily life. Whenever we think of those objects their functional features dominate our thought process. Functional fixedness refers to the tendency to perceive the objects with their customary and stereotypical use.

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