Hyman and Anderson (1965) have suggested eight rules to prevent rigidity in thinking. Kinds of rigidity may lead to failure in solution for which all necessary information is ready at hand. The useful eight rules are as follows:
Examine the elements of the problem rapidly several times, until a pattern image which covers all of these elements at the same time.
The decisions. It is advisable to suspend your judgment. Do not jump to conclusions as they are very likely to mislead at this early, immature stage.
Exploring the Environment
We have better study the environment fully in detail. For this purpose we should vary the temporal and spatial arrangement of the available materials. We may thus keep our mind flexible sand uncover familiar patterns so far marked by the original unfamiliar arrangement of the elements. By rearranging them in different ways we may discover new connections between elements.
Come out with a second Solution
after the first and so on. On first answer to a problem we feel pressed to come out with a solution, we are solution oriented. Having reached at least one possible solution we become problem oriented. This means we now turn the problem over in our mind and look at it from all sides in a more leisurely manner. -We are thus likely to come up with a more creative solution the second time.
Evaluate others’ ideas: constructively and your own critically. This maxim has proved to b useful on a group of thirty six engineers who were asked to solve individually an automatic ware housing problem.
When we feel stuck up
we better change our system of representation. If a concrete representation is not working try an abstract one and vice versa. If we have been dealing with a problem in verbal terms, for instance, it may help to switch over to a graph, a model or to numbers.
Let us have a break when stuck up
If you are sure you are stuck really, take a pause. In case your attack for solution or perception of the materials is not adequate a break is not likely to help. But if we have thoroughly looked into all possibilities a break may enable us to return to the problem afresh. Now one may hit upon the right solution after a different approach.
Seek Guidance, Consult others
This will force us to consider aspects of the problem that’ had gone so far unnoticed The individual we consult may provide us feedback by pointing out inconsistencies and observe points in our thinking.
Stress and Frustration
We have already studied the adverse effects of stress and frustration on learning. How stress affects problem solving has been a subject of many experimental studies. Reynolds (1960) has established that stress is more p1 hindrance to problem solving when solution requires a complex response going against old habits of thought and action — than when simple, isolated judgment are required and previous experience is directly applicable. Cowen (1952) has also found that when people do not feel they must defend themselves from threat they show much greater flexibility in exploring new solutions.
How far is personal context important ‘in influencing problem solving process, is shown m a study comparing the responses of men and women to problems appropriate to masculine or feminine role. In our, Pakistani and oriental culture the need to conform to ones gender role is generally very strong. It has also been established that there is significant relationship between ability to solve problems and a general tendency towards conformity. We find always people becoming emotionally involved in defense of a controversial position. They look blind to logical arguments and the other side. We can take this phenomenon to laboratory for investigation asking the subjects to indicate the validity of syllogisms.