Avengers Infinity Wars + Decision-making, problem solving, and intelligence (*May have small Spoilers*)

Since I have been on a role this semester with my blog post topics being a break down of shows I’ve watched that my newly learned knowledge of cognitive psychology let me understand in a deeper way, I am just going to stick with it. Just recently in class Dr. Rettinger was discussing decision-making, problem solving, and intelligence and the first movie I though of was the new Avengers Infinity Wars movie that was packed with those topics, so I felt like it was only right. That being said this blog may have a few small spoilers on the new Avengers Infinity Wars movie, but it was a pretty fun blog post to write (no ending spoilers though!).

When Dr. Rettinger was first introducing decision-making to us he started by talking about utility theory and how when choosing among various options, “we pick the one that is the most useful by weighing the benefits and costs and if there is uncertainty we the outcome by how likely it is”. If any one knows anything about where the Avengers movies are at in terms of where they are in the comics then you would know the Avengers are finally coming head to head to fight Thanos a Titan that is collecting all 6 of the powerful infinity stones on a glove he wears that will terminate half of the universe if he succeeds and collects them all. In the process to stop Thanos all the Avengers at some point have to do a lot of decision making using utility theory. The first person that comes to mind would be Dr. Strange when he was meditating looking to see all the possible outcomes of the avengers beating Thanos. We also learned that with utility theory framing comes into play sometimes, which can change people’s decisions. This can be seen when Dr. Strange is set on a plan that follows the principle of utility maximization, which is the option with the greatest expected value to beat Thanos. Then when it comes down to someone he cares for being threatened he changes his decision, because of the framing of the situation. If the person he cares about in the situation wasn’t in danger the plan would have proceeded. Or this could have been see as the alternative view we learned about known as a reason based choice, because Dr. Strange only made the choice he made because he had a persuasive reason for making that choice.

For some that may not know since problem solving is a process in which one begins by deciding a goal and seeks the steps to achieve that goal, this Avengers movie fits into this category perfectly. The whole movie each Avenger has a goal that they are trying to reach to in their own way get at Thanos to stop him from collecting all of the infinity stones. One example of a character from this movie that had a goal from the beginning that he followed steps to achieve would I guess be Thanos himself for going through the initial state and goal state for each stone he finds then he makes a goal to find another using operators or available tools or actions, and no matter what path constraints stand in his way he uses his problem solving to find what stone he was looking for. The next example of problem solving in the Infinity wars movie was the hill climbing strategy, which is to get closer to your goal. In this movies case Spiderman sees the total chaos going on around him and decides to join in with the large fight and is instructed to help a specific fellow Avenger so all he sees is his goal of helping the Avenger that he was so focused on reaching the Avenger and once he does he realizes he accidentally got taken beamed up by a ship with the Avenger and now also needed rescuing. Once Iron man reached him on the ship he wonders what they should do to fix their situation and Spider man then suggests they do this thing he once heard about from a story/event once. Or in other words Spiderman was drawing on experience of something he knew had worked in the past or an analogy. Which ended up being a well-defined problem of the goal state and well-defined operators are clearly specified. An example in this movie of an ill-defined problem could be that though Thor kept trying to fight Thanos and loosing every time he kept coming back at any opportunity he could, because of belief perseverance or that though evidence has undermined something people have a tendency to continue endorsing it. With problem solving sometimes there can be an issue with functional fixedness, but for the Avengers in this movie that wasn’t the case when two of them came together to use an unexpected item to make a weapon to fight against Thanos. Which them thinking outside the box was an intelligent way to solve their problem of finishing then weapon.

Lastly when we were learning about intelligence and when Dr.Rettinger said that there are different types of intelligence I found that really interesting to learn. This can also be seen in the Avengers Infinity Wars movie because each Avenger and even Thanos have their own type of intelligence that they use throughout the movie to further themselves along. For the Avenger Vision I think he is very emotionally intelligent in knowing that once Thanos landed on earth he was in danger because he uses one of the infinity stones to live in his forehead so he devised a plan he knew his girlfriend wouldn’t like, but he used his emotional intelligence to control everyone’s emotions around him and explain one life isn’t worth half the universe’s. One more example of a different type of intelligence would be the princess of Wakanda’s fluid intelligence and crystalized intelligence, which is her ability to deal with new and unusual problems easily using her acquired knowledge and experience. This can be seen when the Avengers ask her how to take the infinity stone out of Visions head without killing him like he wanted and she knows the answer right away, when the others didn’t.

In all reality decision-making, problem solving, and intelligence has always been in my everyday life, but I didn’t actually realize it or pay attention to it until taking this cognitive psychology class this semester. It has slowly but surely made me start looking at things that I used to look at in a normal way to a way that actually made me understand in depth why people are doing specific things and what they mean, and not just shallowly understanding what was going on. This class definitely lets you see the cognitive psychology all around you, and not only from watching movies but in your everyday life.

 

References:

Reisberg, Daniel. Cognition: Exploring the Science of the Mind. Langara College, 2017.

http://www.vulture.com/2018/03/analyzing-the-crazy-credits-of-avengers-infinity-war.html

https://movieweb.com/avengers-infinity-war-doctor-strange-benedict-cumberbatch/

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/learning/multiple_intelligences/

2 thoughts on “Avengers Infinity Wars + Decision-making, problem solving, and intelligence (*May have small Spoilers*)

  1. bryanvillalobos

    Although I initially was hesitant to read your blog because I haven’t seen Avengers Infinity Wars yet and did not want to read any spoilers, I caved because I am a sucker for a well-written blog about decision making. I have seen all the other Avengers movies but I had never thought about them from a cognitive psychology perspective so I think it is really cool how you were able to integrate these two things. After reading your blog I am even more excited to watch the movie because I want to see all of the cognitive cognitive concepts you wrote about for myself. Thank you for not spoiling the ending!

  2. kmarston

    Although we never seem to realize it, because it often happens automatically, judgment and decision making are a constant part of our lives! Whether we’re being primed by various food options in the grocery store or approaching a situation that has been framed a certain way to influence our decisions, we have to constantly make choices that have multiple outcomes. It’s interesting looking at judgement and decision making from a movie- a fictional universe at that- standpoint and evaluating how the writers themselves used specific choices that in turn affected the choices that their characters made. I haven’t seen the movie myself yet, but I’m excited to see how cognitive psychology weaves its way into the Avenger’s struggle to bind together and figure out how to save the universe.

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