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A writing question to practice from Barron's 13th edition. [#permalink]
26 Jan 2013, 16:08
Here is the one of the question in Barron's writing section which is very hard for me to find points to relate to the reading passage.
The solving a problem can be broken down into several steps. First, the problem must be identified correctly. Psychologists refer this step as problem representation. For many problems figuring out which information is relevant and which is extraneous can be difficult and can interfere with arriving at a good solution. Clearly, before a problem can be solved, it must be obvious what the problem is; however, it is not as easy as it might seem. One obstacle to efficient problem representation is functional fixedness, that is, allowing preconceived notions and even prejudices to color the facts. Most people tend to see objects and events in certain fixed ways, and by being inflexible in viewing the problem, they may be unable to notice the tools for the solution. Once the problem is identified accurately, however, the second step consist of considering the alternatives for a solution. A common way to evaluate alternatives is to write them down and then make a list of advantages and disadvantages for each solution. Here again, people may be limited by prior experiences. Often people adopt mental sets that lead them to the same problem-solving strategies that were successful for problem in the past. Although, that can be helpful most of the time, sometimes a new situations require a new strategy. In that case, the mental set must be abandoned, and new alternatives must be explored. This can be a difficult adjustment for some people.
After the alternatives have been compared, a strategy must be selected from among them. One way to avoid becoming mired in the options is to try the best option with a view to abandoning it for another if the result are unfavorable. This attitudes allows many people to move on expeditiously to the next step-action. The strategy selected must be implemented and tested. If it solves the problem, no further action is necessary, but if not, then an unsuccessful solution may actually lead to a more successful option. If the solution is still not apparent, the n the cycle begins again, starting with problem identification. By continuing to review the problem and repeat the problem-solving steps, the solution can be improved upon and refined.
Listening Part Lecture in Text Form below.
Now, you have read the article on problem solving. Let's talk about the role of breaks. We all know that taking a break is a good strategy for solving a problem, but how does a break really influence the solution ? Well, some researchers feel that rest allows the brain to analyze the problem clearly. We're advised to "sleep on it" when a problem is difficult to solve. Okay, but what if there is incubation effect during sleep that allows the brain to continue working on a solution ? Here's what I mean. F. A Kekule was puzzled by structure of benzene. One night, he dreamed about a snake biting its tail while whirling around a circle. And when he awoke, it occurred to him that the carbon atoms of benzene might be arranged a ring. He attributed the solution of the problem directly to the dream. But, Kekule's experience and others like it present researches with a dilemma because there's disagreement about whether unconscious mental activity exists. Where the dreamers really asleep or were they relaxed but awake when they solved the problem ?
Two explanations have been proposed t explain why a break supports problem solving while we're awake. One possibility is that during the break, information may appear that provides a solution. For example, burckminster Fuller was looking at a triangle when he saw the structure of multiple triangles as the solution for constracting a geodesic dome. Of course, another possibility is much more simplistic. It could be that the value of taking a break is as basic as interfering with an ineffective pattern of thinking. By focusing on something else, we may return the problem in a different frame of mind and think about it in a different, and more productive, way.
Now summarize the main point in the lecture, referring to the way that they relate to the reading passage.