Many different kinds of problems arise in daily life. Based on your own experiences, or those of a typical person in young/middle adulthood discuss two different examples of problems that would benefit from formal operational or postformal thinking. Describe each problem in detail, explain how a younger child or adolescent would approach and solve the problems and why they would act in that particular way. Then explain how using formal operational or postformal thinking, characteristic of adults, would be a more appropriate way of solving these two problems and why using this form of thinking provides a better method and is the most appropriate.
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Study Guide:
Examples of problems that a typical person in young/middle adulthood might face and how they can benefit from formal operational or postformal thinking.

One example of a problem that would benefit from formal operational thinking is career planning. Young adults often struggle with deciding on a career path and may feel overwhelmed by the many options available to them. A younger child or adolescent may approach this problem by relying on concrete thinking, such as choosing a career based on what they like or what their parents suggest. However, they may not have the ability to consider abstract concepts like job market trends, long-term job satisfaction, and the potential for growth and advancement.

On the other hand, using formal operational thinking, an adult can approach career planning in a more systematic and strategic manner. They can consider their personal strengths, interests, and values, research different careers, and weigh the pros and cons of each option. They can also consider the potential for growth and advancement in their chosen field, and make informed decisions based on their long-term career goals. By using this form of thinking, adults can make more informed and successful career choices.

Another example of a problem that would benefit from postformal thinking is decision-making in complex social situations. Middle-aged adults often face complex social situations that require them to navigate complex relationships, multiple perspectives, and competing values. A younger child or adolescent may approach this problem by relying on concrete thinking and black-and-white reasoning, such as choosing one side over the other or avoiding the situation altogether.

In contrast, using postformal thinking, an adult can approach complex social situations in a more nuanced and empathetic manner. They can consider multiple perspectives and values, and understand that different people may have different needs and priorities. They can also use critical thinking to evaluate the potential consequences of their decisions and weigh the trade-offs between competing values. By using postformal thinking, adults can make more thoughtful and compassionate decisions in complex social situations.

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