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Problem-solving is the active effort people make to achieve a goal that cannot be easily attained.

Types of Problems

Three common categories of problems include inducing structure, arranging, and transformation.

Inducing Structure

Some problems involve finding relationships between elements.

Example: “Pineapple is to fruit as cabbage is to ___.” In this analogy problem, the answer, “vegetable,” requires people to figure out the relationship between “pineapple” and “fruit” and apply a similar relationship to “cabbage.”


Other problems involve arranging elements in a way that fulfills certain criteria.

Example: The answer to the problem “Arrange the letters in LEPAP to make the name of a fruit” is “APPLE.”