Psychology of Problem Solving: Theory and Practice

By Gary A. Davis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

THE HUMAN ORGANISM is a continual decision-maker, problem-solver, and innovator. Many of life's little riddles fortunately require an inconsequential action, such as the daily decisions about what to wear and what to eat. On the other hand, many occasions scattered throughout our personal and professional lives demand more momentous decisions, where poorly considered solutions will be costly in dollars, happiness, or both. For example, we select a university and a professional career; we also reach decisions about marriage and family life. And in these educational, career, and family spheres, we regularly solve important problems and make major decisions affecting our lives and others' for years into the future.

On still a larger scale, we might observe that the history of civilization is itself a history of problem solving and innovation. Indeed, since the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel, man's capacity for imagination and ingenuity has led to astronomical levels of convenience and scientific achievement. Imagine for a moment a heart-transplant patient watching color television as astronauts, transported by a giant Saturn rocket, step onto the moon. He listens as the space men describe their incredible voyage to the brownish‐ gray satellite, their voices and faces transmitted 239,000

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