What Abilities Do Good Thinkers Possess?

1 January 2017

What abilities do good thinkers possess? General Psychology April 30th 2012 Good thinkers have the ability to think psychologically and enhance the ability to solve problem according to the Psychology core concepts. People with good thinking skills can identify can solve problems while considering all possibilities without leading to a conclusion. Another part of problem solving is choosing a strategy that fits the problem (Wickelgren, 1974). There are two methods for selecting a strategy which are algorithms and heuristics.

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Algorithms are formulas or procedures, like the ones used for math and science classes. They can help solve problems if you have all the necessary information. Some examples in the book are balancing a check book, figuring gas mileage, calculating grade point average and making a call on your cell phone. It will work because you are following a step by step procedure leading you from your problem to your solution. Certain problems that have more uncertainty and complex compartments can not be solved with algorithms.

Heuristics are simple basic “rules of thumb” that helps cut through confusion of complicated situations, they are helpful but do not guarantee a solution. Some examples from the book are “don’t keep bananas in the refrigerator”, “If it doesn’t work see if it’s plugged in”. Heuristics require special knowledge like medical, physics or psychology training. There are three essential heuristics that are helpful to learn according to the book which are: working backward, searching for analogies and breaking a big problem into smaller problems.

Having a good selection of strategies is also very important with problem solving. When you connect yourself to an ineffective strategy and stick to it you will have lot of problems. Good problem solvers have the ability to know when a new approach is needed, meaning they know when to choose an algorithm or heuristic method to solve their problem. Another important charactertics that good thinker possess in good judgment making and decision making skills.

Some examples from the book are “How much should I invest”, “What grade does this paper deserve”. All situations require judgment making without bias. The book describes 5 types of bias, which are: confirmation, hindsight, anchoring, representativeness and availability bias. Confirmation bias is when you ignore or find fault. Hindsight bias is also known as the “I knew it all along effect”. Anchoring bias is a faulty heuristic caused by basing anchoring an estimate on complety irrelevant quantity.

Representativeness bias is assumptions about a certain group people. Availability bias is based on information, estimates of probabilities recalled from personal experience. With the knowledge learned from the book we can all become better thinkers and learn how to effectively solve the many problems we encounter on daily basis. We can relate to the examples in the book and can find out exactly what kind of thinkers we are. References Zimbardo, Philip. Johnson, Robert. McCann, Vivian. (2009). Psychology core concepts. Boston: Pearson.

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