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The Training of Original Problem Solving Behavior

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Thinking appears to be endlessly complex be cause we do not know all of the initial conditions present when an individual begins to think. The most important of these initial conditions is the probabilities of occurrence or response strengths of his available responses. Labels such as categories of thinking, strategies, reasoning, etc. do not represent principles of thinking. They represent the products of thinking and are therefore misleading in their emphasis. Fully adequate explanations of thinking under different stimulus conditions will never be possible until the history of learning of the individual is known, until reaction tendencies of the relevant responses in a situation can be assessed through a knowledge of the number of occasions that they have occurred in the past. In the absence of such knowledge we do not know precisely what is happening when we administer so-called originality training. A technology that is not based upon a knowledge of the basic behavioral principles cannot hope to be widely generalizable or successful. Nevertheless, the experimental procedures that we have employed in experimental studies of originality, as well as the techniques of others, could be employed in simple minded ways in more complex situations and may well prove effective in the facilitation of originality.



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