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Problem Solving can be described in terms of four phases

1) understand the problem
2) generate one or more hypotheses
3) test the hypotheses
4) check the results


mechanical, repetitive procedure for solving a problem or testing every hypothesis

ex: in chess, you would consider each of your possible moves, each of your opponent's possible replies, each of your next moves, and soforth


strategies for simplifying a problem or for guiding an investigation

ex: what should i do with my life? restrict attention to a few possible careers and then learn about the jobs

representative heurisitc

tendency to assume that, if an item resembles members of a particular category, it is probably a member of that category itself

base-rate information

how common the two categories are

availability heuristic

strategy of assuming that how easily one can remember examples of some kind of event indicates how common the event itself is

news media overestimates drug wars, so there are a lot of drug wars (not true)

critical thinking

the careful evaluation of evidence for and against any conclusion


they believed their estimates were more accurate than they actually were

confirmation bias

accepting one hypothesis and then looking for evidence to support it, instead of considering other possibilities

functional fixedness

tendency to adhere to a single approach or a single way of using an item

framing effect

tendency to answer a question differently when it is framed (phrased) differently

sunk cost effect

willingness to do something we wouldn't otherwise choose to do because of money or effort already spent

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