NCERT Solutions for Class 11th: Ch 8 Thinking Psychology 

Page No: 167

Review Questions

1. Explain the nature of thinking.


Thinking is the base of all cognitive activities or processes and is unique to human beings.  It involves manipulation and analysis of information received from the environment. Such manipulation and analysis occur by means of abstracting, reasoning, imagining, problem solving, judging, and decision- making. Thinking is mostly organised and goal directed.  One desires to reach the goal by planning, recalling the steps that one has already followed in the past if the task is familiar or inferring strategies if the task is new. Thinking is an internal mental process, which can be inferred from overt behaviour.

2. What is a concept? Explain the role of concept in the thinking process.


• A concept is a mental representation of a category. It refers to a class of objects, ideas or events that share common properties.

• Role of concept in the thinking process: Concept formation helps us in organising our knowledge so that whenever we need to access our knowledge, we can do it with less time and effort. For making our thought process quick and efficient, we form concepts and categorise objects and events Concepts usually fall into hierarchies or levels of understanding. The levels are classified as super ordinate (the highest level), basic (an intermediate level), and subordinate (the lowest level). While speaking us mostly use basic level concepts. Children also learn basic level concepts first and then the other levels.

• Most of the concepts people use in thinking is neither clear nor unambiguous. They are fuzzy. They overlap one another and are often poorly defined. For example, under which category would you put a small stool? Would you put it under the category of ‘chair’ or under the category of ‘table’? The answer to these questions is that we construct a model or prototype. A prototype is the best representative member of the category. Eleanor Rosch argues that in considering how people think about concepts, prototypes are often involved in real life. In prototype matching, people decide whether an item is a member of a category by comparing it with the most typical item(s) of the category. Therefore, in the above example of the stool, you would try to compare it with a   standard study chair (if you consider it as the typical example of a chair) and a small study table (if you consider it as the typical example of a table) and then match the properties of the stool with these two concepts. If it matches with a chair you would put it under the category of chair otherwise under the category of table.

3. Identify obstacles that one may encounter in problem solving.


Two major obstacles to solving a problem are mental set and lack of motivation.
Mental Set
Mental set is a tendency of a person to solve problems by following already tried mental operations or steps.
Lack of Motivation:
Lack of motivation is another obstacle to solving problems. Sometimes people give up easily when they encounter a problem or failure in implementing the first step. Therefore, there is a need to persist in their effort to find a solution.

4. How does reasoning help in solving problems?


Reasoning is the process of gathering and analysing information to arrive at conclusions. In this sense, reasoning is also a form of problem solving. Reasoning, like problem solving, is goal directed, involves inference and can be either deductive or inductive Thus deductive reasoning begins with making a general assumption that you know or believe to be true or then drawing specific conclusion based on this assumption. In other words, it is reasoning from general to particular. Here general assumption is that people run on the railway platform only when they are getting late for the train. The man is running on the platform. Therefore, he is getting late for the train. One mistake that you are making (and generally people do commit such mistakes in deductive reasoning) is that you (they) assume but do not always know if the basic statement or assumption is true. If the base information is not true, i.e. people also run on the platform for other reasons then your conclusion would be invalid or wrong. 

5. Are judgment and decision-making interrelated processes? Explain.


Judgment and decision- making are interrelated processes. In decision- making the problem before us is to choose among alternatives by evaluating the cost and benefit associated with each alternative. For example, when you have the option to choose between psychology and economics as subjects in Class XI, your decision would be based upon your interest, future prospects, availability of books, efficiency of teachers, etc. You could evaluate them by talking to seniors and faculty members and attending a few classes, etc. Decision-making differs from other types of problem solving. In decision- making we already know the various solutions or choices and one has to be selected. Suppose your friend is a very good player of badminton. S/he is getting an opportunity to play at the state level. At the same time the final examination is approaching and s/he needs to study hard for it. S/he will have to choose between two options, practising for badminton or studying for the final examination. In this situation her/his decision will be based upon evaluation of all possible outcomes.
It can observe that people differ in their priorities and therefore their decisions will differ. 
In real life situations we take quick decisions and therefore, it is not possible always to evaluate every situation thoroughly and exhaustively.

6. Why is divergent thinking important in creative thinking process?


Divergent thinking is important in creative thinking process .It’s abilities facilitate generation of a variety of ideas which may not seem to be related. Divergent thinking abilities generally include fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. Fluency is the ability to produce many ideas for a given task or a problem. The more ideas a person produce, the higher his fluency ability. Flexibility indicates variety in thinking. It may be thinking of different uses of an object, or different interpretation of a picture, story or different ways of solving a problem. Originality is the ability to produce ideas that are rare or unusual by seeing new relationships, combining old ideas with new ones, looking at things from different perspectives etc. Elaboration is the ability that enables a person to go into details and workout implications of new ideas.

7. What are the various barriers to creative thinking?


Different barriers to create thinking are as follows:

• Habitual learning is necessary for smooth and efficient functioning within the daily routine, the tendency to be overpowered by habits particularly in one’s ways of thinking can be detrimental to creative expression. We become so used to thinking and perceiving things in a familiar way that it becomes difficult to think in novel ways. It may be related to our tendency to quickly jump to conclusions, not to see problems from fresh perspectives, be satisfied with routine patterns of doing things, or resist to overcome pre- conceived viewpoints, and not to change immediate judgment, etc.
The perceptual blocks prevent us from being open to novel and original ideas.

• Motivational and emotional blocks also interfere with creative thinking which shows that creative thinking is not merely a cognitive process. Lack of motivation, fear of failure, fear of being different, fear of ridicule or rejection, poor self-concept, negativism, etc. May hamper creative thinking. For example, some people may not be motivated enough to extend themselves and make extra efforts. A person may find that s/he cannot do it further, may leave the problem in between or may accept the intermediate idea as the final idea. Further, some people, for example, have negative assumptions about themselves. They feel that they are not capable of doing some tasks. You may be surprised to know that Thomas Alva Edison, the inventor of the bulb, took years of experimentation with hundreds of failures before he produced the first bulb.

• Cultural barriers are related to excessive adherence to traditions, expectations, conformity pressures, and stereotypes. Conformity to some extent is essential for social existence but excessive conformity to traditions, rituals, and procedures are likely to block creative thinking. Cultural blocks arise due to the fear of being different, the tendency to maintain status quo, willingness to accept mediocrity, preservation of personal security, social pressure, over dependence on others, etc.

8. How can creative thinking be enhanced?


There are many strategies which help in enhancing creative thinking. These are as follows:

• Becoming more aware and sensitive to be able to notice and respond to feelings, sights, sounds, textures around you. Spot problems, missing information, anomalies, gaps, deficiencies, and so on. Try to notice contradictions and incompleteness in situations that others may not do. For this, cultivate the habit of wider reading, exposure to a variety of information, and develop the art of asking questions, pondering over the mysteries of situations and objects.

• Generating as many ideas, responses, solutions or suggestions on a given task or situation to increase your flow of thoughts. Try deliberately to look for multiple angles of a task and situation to increase flexibility in your thinking. It could be, for example, thinking of alternative arrangements of furniture in a room to generate more space, different ways of conversing with people, looking for costs and benefits of a course of study or career, looking for ways of dealing with an angry friend, helping others, etc.

• Osborn’s Brainstorming technique can be used to increase fluency and flexibility of ideas to open-ended situations. Brainstorming is based on the principle that producing ideas should be kept separate from the evaluation of their worth. The basic assumption is to let the minds think freely and the tendency to put judgment on the worth of ideas may be postponed, i.e. imagination should be given priority over judgment till all the ideas are exhausted. This helps in increasing the fluency of ideas and piling up alternatives. Brainstorming can be practised by playing brainstorming games with family members and friends keeping its principles in mind. Use of checklists and questions often provide a new twist for ideas like, what other changes? What else? In how many ways could it be done? What could be the other uses of this object? And so on.

• Originality can be developed by practicing fluency, flexibility, habit of associative thinking, exploring linkages, and fusing distinct or remote ideas. A creative thinker, it is said, may not evolve new ideas but evolve new combination of ideas. It is the chain of thoughts and cross-fertilisation of ideas that may bring out something new. The idea of the ‘rocking chair’ has come from the combination of ‘chair’ and ‘see- saw’. Practice making unusual and unexpected associations using analogies. Sometimes finding original ideas/solutions requires a dramatic shift of focus which can be facilitated by asking oneself: what is the opposite of the commonplace or usual solution to the problem? Allow conflicting thoughts to co-exist. Looking for solutions opposite to the obvious may lead to original solutions.

• Engaging yourself more frequently in activities which require use of imagination and original thinking rather than routine work according to your interest and hobbies. It may be decorating the house, improvising or redesigning of old objects, making use of waste products in multiple ways, completing incomplete ideas in unique ways, giving new twist to stories or poems, developing riddles, puzzles, solving mysteries and so on.

• Never accepting the first idea or solution. Many ideas die because we reject them thinking that the idea might be a silly idea. You have to first generate a number of possible ideas or solutions, then select the best from among them.

• Getting a feedback on the solutions you decide on from others who are less personally involved in the task.

• Trying to think of what solutions someone else may offer for your problems.

• Giving your ideas the chance to incubate. Allowing time for incubation between production of ideas and the stage of evaluation of ideas may bring in the ‘Aha!’ experience.

9. Does thinking take place without language? Discuss.


Thinking cannot take place without language. Benjamin Lee Whorf was of the view that language determines the contents of thought. This view is known as linguistic relativity hypothesis. In its strong version, this hypothesis holds what and how individuals can possibly think is determined by the and linguistic categories they use (linguistic determinism). Experimental evidence, however, maintains that it is possible to have the same level or quality of thoughts in all languages depending upon the availability of linguistic categories and structures. Some thoughts may be easier in one language compared to another.

10. How is language acquired in human beings?


• It has been accepted by the most psychologist that both nature and nurture are important in language acquisition.

• Behaviourist B.F. Skinner believed we learn language the same way as animals learn to pick keys or press bars. Language development, for the behaviourists follow the learning principles, such as association (the sight of bottle with the word ‘bottle’), imitation (adults use of word “bottle”), and reinforcement.

• There is also evidence that children produce sounds that are appropriate to a language of the parent or care-giver and are reinforced for having done so. The principle of shaping leads to successive approximation of the desired responses so that the child eventually speaks as well as the adult. Regional differences in pronunciation and phrasing illustrate how different patterns are reinforced in different areas.

• Linguist Noam Chomsky put forth the innate proposition of development of language. For him the rate at which children acquire words and grammar without being taught cannot be explained only by learning principles. Children also create all sorts of sentences they have never heard and, therefore, could not be imitating. Children throughout the world seem to have a critical period — a period when learning must occur if it is to occur successfully — for learning language. Children across the world also go through the same stages of language development. Chomsky believes language development is just like physical maturation- given adequate care, it “just happens to the child”. Children are born with “universal grammar”. They readily learn the grammar of whatever language they hear. Skinner’s emphasis on learning explains why infants acquire the language they hear and how they add new words to their vocabularies. Chomsky’s emphasis on our built-in readiness to learn grammar helps explain why children acquire language so readily without direct teaching.

Go To Chapters
Previous Post Next Post