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Paradigm Perceptual Bias
We tend to automatically process new situations
in terms of the old and familiar. This tendency
restricts our awareness of other possibilities.
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Try the following exercise:
Convert the figure IX into the number 6.
Only use the existing figure IX (i. e. you cannot
use only a portion of it, not alter it in any way. )
Only add one single line to the existing figure IX.
The solution must contain the figure IX.
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Subconscious Presumptions. ..
If you are having difficulty discovering the
solution, reflect on what you are presuming
about the parameters of this situation.
By becoming more aware of your subconscious
presumptions, you can directly challenge them
and go beyond their constraints.
If you think you have a solution,
then proceed to the next screen. .. . .
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One Solution. ..
One correct solution to this problem is “SIX”.
Notice how easy it is to see and understand the solution in retrospect?
What prevented you from seeing this solution by yourself?
Perhaps you presumed the IX signified roman numerals
and consequently you confined your thinking to this
system, instead of seeing it more neutrally as just a single
line and two crossed lines.
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Perhaps you presumed that since the figure IX consisted of only
straight lines, that the additional line also had to be a straight one.
Now, given the same situation and rules, develop a different solution
to this problem.
Again, if you are experiencing dificulty in discovering the second
solution, reflect on what you are presuming that constricts your
thinking of other alternatives. ..
Proceed to the next screen when you think you
have a second solution. ..
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A Second Solution. ..
1x6 Surprised? What prevented you from seeing this solution by yourself?
Is there a similarity in your presumed constraints with the first solution?
Once again, you had to free yourself from presuming an
answer confined to the roman numeral system and using '
a straight line.
Additionally, you had to free yourself from the presumed
constraint of a simple graphical representation of the
number itself, so that you could entertain the possibility
of a computational solution. _ ,
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Problem-Solving Principles. ..
What principles have you learned about general problem-solving from this exercise?
Can you think of some real world problems where such presumptions restrict
awareness to better solutions?
For example, at the beginning of the 20th century, physicists ruled out the possibility
of airplanes because the concept contradicted the Law of Gravity. Similary, the Swiss
watchmaking industry rejected their own invention of digital watch technology,
because they already dominated the world market with their older mechanical technology
and consequently lost most of their precious dominating market share.
And, if you came up with another solution to the IX problem, I’d be interested to hear from you!
Please email me. .. Howard Eisenberg howard@syntrek. com