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 Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems

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Patrician Shilo

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PostSubject: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:28 pm

As you will see in the videos,  which I promise I will put up as soon as I am able to tape them, we have to solve all sorts of problems every day and they aren’t always as simple or straightforward as they seem to be. All of your responses gave me an idea of not only how you approach making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but how you interpreted my instructions. There were a few of you whose responses I could not use for the example because as hard as I looked, I could not turn it into the bulleted list I needed to show you where the assumptions were. This actually shows me a bit about the assumptions I make when writing my assignments.

As for all of your lists, I noticed all of you left out small, but crucial steps in your creation. This is perfectly alright and to be expected. The idea is to see how much we are thinking about without realizing we are thinking about it. I hope you all enjoy my attempt at making these sandwiches.


Thinking and problem solving go hand in hand. We often think of them as one and the same. We think to solve problems, but we do so much more when we think. We think to plan out our movement and decide what to say to each other. As was seen in the variety of responses, there is a natural variety in the way that people think and problem solve. Most of you took a very holistic approach to my question. These responses included a lot of emotion and thought process that went beyond simply making a sandwich. A few of you took a very analytical approach to the problem, even going as far as to state what objects were needed at the beginning of the assignment. You broke down every step and completely focused on the task of building a sandwich. Neither approach is inherently better than the other.

Looking back at your instructions for making the butter and jelly sandwich, what was your thought process like when you were doing this assignment? In addition to that do you have any thoughts about the two chapters I suggested you read?

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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:10 pm

Thank you for your feedback on the past assignments, Patrician Shilo. It was especially interesting to note trends in approaches to the task.

My thought process when completing the assignment to write instructions for making a sandwich was very much on the analytical, rather than holistic, side. I had a similar assignment several years ago, and my response was far from satisfactory, so this time I knew that it would be important to make - or attempt to make - no assumptions. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for myself and wrote down each step as I did it. It was my hope that this would result in complete instructions that could be successfully repeated by anyone attempting to follow them. I am quite curious, therefore, to discover what small but crucial steps I omitted from my list, since that answer would reveal something I did but didn't even realize was a step to record despite attempting to write down everything I did. 

Regarding the reading, I found it fascinating (and somewhat disappointing) that apparently research has not determined a way that improved holistic thinking skills can consistently be taught. I also found the sections on attention and problem-solving to be both interesting and personally valuable since those are two skills I would like to strengthen in my own thinking.
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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:42 pm

Patrician Shilo wrote:
 [size=47]Looking back at your instructions for making the butter and jelly sandwich, what was your thought process like when you were doing this assignment?

In addition to that do you have any thoughts about the two chapters I suggested you read?[/size]

With regards to thought process during posting...at first I wanted to be really detailed and specific, then I thought that was too restrictive and should mention other possible ways of making it, and then it just morassed into "get some sort of filling onto the some sort of bread somehow, I don't even know anymore!"

I did appreciate the refresher on thinking. My therapist is a Jungian, so I picked up on the subconscious being described in a rather wishy-washy mystical way that's probably outdated to more modern psychology. 

And that problem-solving chapter was succinct in what to possibly actionably do. I get paralyzed thinking about thinking, but more often it's good to know, so thanks for leading this course!
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Zomomalungbarrowtodonos

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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:46 pm

I'll admit, I took a little prompting from reading Candidate Mel's submission when I was writing my instruction. Initially I would have simply written out the instructions in a straightforward manner, but I was reminded by Mel's instructions that peanut butter is a large trigger for me -- I can barely even open a jar of it without wanting to cry. Which immediately led me to ponder the assignment through more personal eyes. Why in Fate's name would I make a pb+j sandwich, knowing that I couldn't even willingly spread the peanut butter without panicking? The only conclusion I could come to is that my distracted, dissociated nature would be a cause for it. Things just flowed from there; the whole set of instructions was built knowing the peanut butter would come into play, and thus my instructions on how to make a pb+j sandwich turned into a description of my struggle with my own mental health, as most things do.

I'm not certain how I feel about the chapters we read. The problem solving chapter was certainly interesting in laying out the ways we problem-solve and why some are better than others. However, the thinking chapter talks about hollistic and analytic thinking, which to me is reminiscent of the established belief people hold that there are 'creative' and 'intellectual' thinkers -- if someone does badly in a test, they are immediately marked as 'creative'. This is something I despise as a concept, especially as schooling only requires one or two specific kinds of analytic thinking whereas there are hundreds of different ways it can be applied, whereas the chapter we read on thinking styles make it sound as if schooling/being taught traditionally is the only way to improve analytic thinking; something I fundamentally disagree with.

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Faemon



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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:37 pm

Sapphire Balmore wrote:
 peanut butter is a large trigger for me -- I can barely even open a jar of it without wanting to cry. Which immediately led me to ponder the assignment through more personal eyes. Why in Fate's name would I make a pb+j sandwich, knowing that I couldn't even willingly spread the peanut butter without panicking? 
With sincerity, I do say that's rough. Is chocolate spread and orange marmalade better for your peace of mind? (I listed that considering alternatives, more with thinking of people with nut allergies...) Or hazelnut spread that I never find labeled hazelnut butter, and marshmallow fluff?
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Patrician Shilo

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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:21 am

Sapphire Balmore wrote:
I'll admit, I took a little prompting from reading Candidate Mel's submission when I was writing my instruction. Initially I would have simply written out the instructions in a straightforward manner, but I was reminded by Mel's instructions that peanut butter is a large trigger for me -- I can barely even open a jar of it without wanting to cry. Which immediately led me to ponder the assignment through more personal eyes. Why in Fate's name would I make a pb+j sandwich, knowing that I couldn't even willingly spread the peanut butter without panicking? The only conclusion I could come to is that my distracted, dissociated nature would be a cause for it. Things just flowed from there; the whole set of instructions was built knowing the peanut butter would come into play, and thus my instructions on how to make a pb+j sandwich turned into a description of my struggle with my own mental health, as most things do.

I'm not certain how I feel about the chapters we read. The problem solving chapter was certainly interesting in laying out the ways we problem-solve and why some are better than others. However, the thinking chapter talks about hollistic and analytic thinking, which to me is reminiscent of the established belief people hold that there are 'creative' and 'intellectual' thinkers -- if someone does badly in a test, they are immediately marked as 'creative'. This is something I despise as a concept, especially as schooling only requires one or two specific kinds of analytic thinking whereas there are hundreds of different ways it can be applied, whereas the chapter we read on thinking styles make it sound as if schooling/being taught traditionally is the only way to improve analytic thinking; something I fundamentally disagree with.

First, I apologize greatly about the trigger. I will remember to use the nut butter spread of your choice the next time I run this class.

For the two chapters, I was trying to illustrate how different people have completely different ways to approach the same problem, I apologize if it looked like I was trying to make it a dichotomy. There are definitely people who will do something between the two extremes and those who may take a completely different approach. An unfortunate part of introductory books like the one we are using is that they tend to oversimplify things, and you are very right to criticize them in assuming that there are only two different ways to think.

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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:31 am

SkitSquad wrote:
Thank you for your feedback on the past assignments, Patrician Shilo. It was especially interesting to note trends in approaches to the task.

My thought process when completing the assignment to write instructions for making a sandwich was very much on the analytical, rather than holistic, side. I had a similar assignment several years ago, and my response was far from satisfactory, so this time I knew that it would be important to make - or attempt to make - no assumptions. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for myself and wrote down each step as I did it. It was my hope that this would result in complete instructions that could be successfully repeated by anyone attempting to follow them. I am quite curious, therefore, to discover what small but crucial steps I omitted from my list, since that answer would reveal something I did but didn't even realize was a step to record despite attempting to write down everything I did. 

Regarding the reading, I found it fascinating (and somewhat disappointing) that apparently research has not determined a way that improved holistic thinking skills can consistently be taught. I also found the sections on attention and problem-solving to be both interesting and personally valuable since those are two skills I would like to strengthen in my own thinking.

To be very honest, the misunderstanding was most likely my fault. In all reality I swiped this particular exercise from a computer science / programming class. in its original context it is to show a programmer exactly how specific they need to be to a simple machine in order for their program to be interpreted properly. It is an interesting way to illustrate how a person's mind works, especially when you are comparing a person to a simple VI.

 Although this may seem to have little to do with psychology, to do this the point of the exercise was to show how much goes into each step seemingly simple and it is something that programmers also have to learn. Unfortunately this also means I may have been a bit biased when describing the experiment and I do apologize for this. However watching watching everybody interpret my instructions in ways I did not anticipate was very enlightening and something I definitely do not regret.

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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:35 am

I would like to apologize for my inability to have your projects video taped. I was very much looking forward to this as the execution of this particular project is typically hilariously messy. I will do my best to come back to this end have your project video tape as soon as I am able to.

I have been looking over your responses to the chapter reading and I will definitely be bringing up any concerns I see tomorrow. I'm very glad to see that all of you are very comfortable challenging this book. We cannot move forward in science without challenging each other to think beyond what we normally do.

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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:54 am

I apologize for my late response. I would say that I took a more analytical approach to the sandwich problem. While I added some commentary in an attempt to make things more interesting, overall I stuck to the task of making a sandwich. I tend to err on the side of providing more detail when I am unsure how much detail is expected. I've also been trained to be more detail-oriented as a science major. I am curious if there is a correlation between the different types of responses and our chosen fields of study. I admit that I also took some cues from the other responses because, again, I wasn't 100% sure what the expectations were, although I still made sure that my own response was original.

I thought the readings were interesting, but I agree that they were somewhat oversimplified, especially the discussion on analytical vs. holistic thinking. I think that we all use both styles of thinking in different situations, even if we may prefer one over the other. I found it interesting that the analytical style tends to be associated with conventional definitions of intelligence but it also requires some sort of education. I thought that the problem solving chapter was especially interesting and I enjoyed trying to figure out the sample puzzles. I found it interesting how for puzzles, the most obvious response is almost never the solution. In real life, the obvious solution is usually correct but not always, so I guess puzzles test your ability to think outside the box in those situations. I also wonder how the problem solving advice at the end of the chapter would work for those with executive functioning issues or if it might be adapted to be more helpful.
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PostSubject: Re: Of Thoughts and Sandwich Problems   Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:50 pm

I also apologise for being late, I have been in Northumberland and have not had chance to read the chapters and process them until just.


I also would like to know what I missed in the sandwich analysis - probably something rather obvious that, had I followed a step by step routine would have been obvious. However, I was trying to write a step by step list and realised that I disliked that way of writing, especially as someone who had never actually made pb&j as a nut allergy sufferer, and I preferred the idea of writing it in the way I did. I was glad I was the first responder as it gave me more flexibility to do that - had someone previously posted a list, I probably would have followed, and I was nervous about posting it until I found that other candidates had followed this method too.


In regard to the reading, I also found that it seemed to create a dichotomy, whereas I find that both are needed and often can exist together - as a prospective Computer Science and History uni student, I find they work quite well together.  The lack of research on holistic thinking I found odd - surely this is a skill that people also require and we could find a way to make it better. Like Candidate Sapphire, I agree with the idea that traditional education can increase analytic thinking but not to the exclusion of anything else, and you can learn to think that way without traditional education. The lack of research on holistic thinking I found odd - surely this is a skill that people also require and we could find a way to make it better. Like Candidate Sapphire, I agree with the idea that traditional education can increase analytic thinking but not to the exclusion of anything else, and you can learn to think that way without traditional education.

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