Locus of control, need for cognition, and a hierarchical approach to real-world problem solving : searching for a problem solving personality

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VanHorn, Renee E. Minick
Butler, Darrell L., 1949-
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Psychological Science
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The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of two problem-solving techniques and two personality variables upon the quantity and self-reported quality of solutions people generated to an ill-structured problem. College students completed the Locus of Control and Need for Cognition Scales and, after having been trained in either brainstorming or a hierarchical problem-solving method, they used their new skill to solve a problem. They also rated their solutions on quality. Subjects in the hierarchical condition produced more solutions than those in brainstorming. Moreover, those in the hierarchical group produced solutions of subjectively higher quality than did the brainstormers. Analyses of the personality variables suggested that as need for cognition increased, people generated more solutions before training. No relationship was found between need for cognition and quality ratings. Locus of control was not related to either quantity or quality. Implications for business are discussed and suggestions for future research are provided.