Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving Essay

This paper will introduce critical thinking and creative problem solving with an emphasis on the latter. In doing so, it will attempt to describe any similarities and differences between the two. Critical thinking is the process of rationally analyzing and attempting to solve a problem accurately without guessing.The first step in critical thinking is to understand the problem thoroughly which will allow you to restate the problem in different ways to learn about it and other related issues and where to look for possible solutions.

Critical thinking is the general cognitive skill of determining the best answer when there is not one correct answer. Critical thinking is a trainable skill that can create innovative problem-solvers but not necessarily creative problem solvers.The creative problem solving process rejects standardized formats for problem solving, takes multiple perspectives on a problem, generates unique ideas to solve a problem, and displays self-confidence and trust in his or her work. Theory of Intellectual Functioning According to Guilford intellect consists of five types of mental operations and these mental operations form a central theme in his model of creative problem solving.These operations are; cognition- discovery, rediscovery or recognition of a situation’s relevant characteristics; memory- retention of what is known; convergent thinking- thinking that results in the right answer for a question that has only one correct answer; divergent thinking- thinking in different directions for questions that may have many right answers; and evaluation- reaching a decision about the correctness, accuracy, or goodness of an answer that has been generated from the previous four operations.

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In his model Guilford claims that divergent thinking and convergent thinking are the most critical.Using divergent thinking the widest range of ideas are generated then they can be evaluated using convergent thinking to determine the most appropriate answer. Lateral Thinking Edward deBono suggests that there is a distinction between lateral thinking and vertical thinking. Vertical thinking is thinking with mental operations that move in a straight line up and down between higher and lower level concepts. Where lateral thinking is looking in alternate directions to define and interpret a problem and thus a solution.

Vertical thinking is like convergent thinking in that it seeks a single correct solution. Lateral thinking is similar to divergent thinking in that it seeks alternate solutions by going around the obvious and taking a different path. Component Approach Sternberg’s component approach views a lateral move in thinking will bring a shift in point of view brought on by degrees of freedom from a sideways move from the one-dimensional linear mode of thinking.

The three elements of Sternberg’s theory are; knowledge acquisition, planning and decision making.Davidson, Deuser, and Sternberg used the component approach in a problem solving approach with four processes which are; finding and defining the problem, mentally representing the problem, planning how to solve the problem, and evaluating performance on the problem. Each of these processes benefit from lateral thinking. Self-Efficacy Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to organize and execute the actions necessary to manage a situation (“What Is Self-Efficacy? “, n. d. ). Self-efficacy allows divergent thinking because cognitive limits are not set in place.Metaphors A metaphor is an example in which the unfamiliar is expressed in terms of the familiar.

Synectics Synectics is a group creative problem solving process that is designed to increase the probability of successful resolutions. According to Gordon synectic research has three main assumptions; the creative process can be described and taught, invention processes are similar and are driven by the same psychic processes, and individual and group creativity are similar. Theorists believe that people can be better at being creative if they understand the creative process.The synectic process is designed to improve the success in creative problem solving meetings by removing negative elements and replacing them with positive collaborative tools that enable the team to focus their abilities on the problems. Springboarding is a synectic tool that is used for getting creative beginning ideas by incorporating brainstorming and metaphors.

Conclusion In Conclusion critical thinking is a process of thinking about a problem by describing it thoroughly, being able to restate in other ways to ensure complete understanding, developing ideas to solve the problem, and evaluating the solutions feasibility.Critical thinking is performed in a systematic way with the goal of obtaining a correct solution. Creative problem solving is using a non-linear lateral approach that will solve problems in a new and unique way. Some aspects of critical thinking incorporate creative problem solving such as the developing ideas phase and some aspects of critical thinking are used with creative problem solving such as understanding the problem.

ReferencesWhat Is Self-Efficacy?. (n. d. ).

Retrieved from http://psychology. about. com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/self_efficacy. htm


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