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Problem solving - the highest level of mental activity

Why is problem solving considered the highest level of mental activity? What makes an individual skillful at solving problems? Explain your answer.

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1. Why is problem solving considered the highest level of mental activity?

Problem solving is believed to rely on what is referred to as executive functions; a term used to explain behaviors e.g. initiation of action, self-control, self-regulation (regulation) and refers to higher-level cognitive abilities e.g. attention, decision-making, planning, sequencing, problem solving (organization) that enable an individual to successfully engage in independent goal-directed behavior. These highest level capacities are most commonly associated with the frontal cortex and are involved in problem solving, as they guide complex behavior through planning, decision-making and self-monitoring of judgments and impulses. In fact, research on brain damage shows that defective executive behavior typically involves a cluster of deficiencies in these aspects of functioning, including problem solving, not just one. Deficits have been associated with damage to the prefrontal cortex, as well as interconnected cortical and subcortical brains structures (Lezak, et. al., 2004). This neurological research in aging supports the notion that problem solving involves the highest mental activity and functioning, because when this part of the brain is damaged, you see decreased ability in ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses why problem solving is considered the highest level of mental activity, as well as what makes an individual skillful at solving problems. Research validated. References included in APA format.

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