Every day we use problem solving in multiple situations that are both complex and simple. Problem solving is the cognitive strategy to accomplish a goal. The Lilienfeld text provides three different types of problem solving that hinder our ability to find a solution. One being, the salience of surface similarities. This can affect our problem solving because it becomes difficult to ignore the surface features of a problem. Instead of focusing on the reasoning needed to solve a problem, we only notice the attention grabbing details. Another issue that tends to pop up with problem solving is a mental set. Mental sets can certainly help with solving problems in one particular way. However, a mental set can cause trouble thinking "outside of the box." Instead of finding new and improved ways to solve a problem, we are stuck with the usual way to solve a problem. Lastly, functional fixedness can inhibit us to solve a tricky problem. Functional fixedness is defined as the difficulty realizing an object has more than one purpose. With this type of hamper, we focus on what an objects original use is and don't regard other ways in which it can be used.
Problem solving is extremely important in our every day life. If we didn't use problem solving, we probably wouldn't get very far. Whether it be used on an exam, relationship, or even a minor decision like what to wear everyday, we use problem solving to overcome each challenge.
Each type of problem solving can be used in real life. The salience of surface similarities can be applied to looking at a math problem, perhaps. Some math problems are filled with tons of extra information or stories when really we only need to notice if we need to divide or multiple. A mental set can pertain to picking a speech topic for a class. A lot of times we choose speech topics that have already been discussed in class rather than picking a topic "outside of the box." Functional fixedness can be related to a text book. If we don't have a hammer at immediate use, a text book might suffice.
Sure, it's easy to see how problem solving is critical to solving a challenge. But what are some other types of problem solving that can interfere with finding a solution? What part of the brain does problem solving occur and at what age is problem solving fully matured?