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How to Solve Almost Any Problem by Alan Barker

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Chapter 2

Welcome to your brain: nature’s problem-solver and how it works (sort of)

Humans are undoubtedly nature’s most versatile problem-solvers to date. As we’ve seen, the key to our success lies in the interplay of two kinds of mental activity:

  1. Intuitive problem-solving is the work of unconscious pattern-matching: it looks for similarities between problems and puts problems in context to help us decide what to do.
  2. Rational problem-solving is the work of conscious, deliberate thinking: it uses logic, evidence and evaluation according to objective criteria, rather than association with experience.

And where does this intuitive and rational thinking happen? The obvious answer is: in our brains.

In this chapter we’ll take a tour of the ...

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