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Everyday Problem Solving

Life-span Approach To Everyday Problem Solving, Social Context Of Everyday Problem Solving, Interventions Into Everyday Cognition

Adult performance in intellectually demanding real-life situations has received increasing attention in the cognitive and psychological research literatures since the 1970s. The ability of adults to solve cognitive problems encountered in daily life has frequently been referred to by several terms, including everyday problem solving, practical problem solving, everyday cognition, pragmatics of intelligence, and practical intelligence.

The study and measurement of practical intelligence or everyday problem solving arose out of concern with traditional academic paper-and-pencil measures of intelligence for two reasons. First, the validity of traditional intelligence tests as measures of everyday problem solving came into question. Specifically, question arose as to whether these tests actually assessed real-life functional competence, that is, whether intelligence-test scores were predictive of actual performance in a natural setting. Second, most traditional measures of intelligence were not originally developed for assessment of cognitive functioning in middle and later adulthood, and some questioned whether these tests represented salient mental abilities, particularly in later adulthood.

Everyday cognitive competence has been defined as the capacity to perform cognitively demanding tasks of daily living, and it is viewed as one component of functional ability. Measures of everyday or practical intelligence focus on tasks encountered by adults in their "real" life rather than more artificial or abstract tasks encountered only in academic or clinical settings. Domains of complex everyday tasks, evident particularly in technologically advanced and affluent cultures, include the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs), such as telephone use, financial management, and medication regulation.

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