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Thinking and Problem Solving.docx

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Nathaniel Barr

Thinking and Problem Solving July 9, 2013 Thinking: 1. Focused thinking (goal based, problem solving) 2. Unfocused thinking (day dreaming, unintentional) Implicit (fast) evolved early and automatic and explicit systems (slower) evolved late, conscious Types of problems: Well defined – have beginning and an end and have guidelines or rules. “Help Santa find his sleigh” Ill defined - ??? Badly defined Techniques for solving problems: explicit strategies. Can be applied to almost any problem. General. It’s the way you work not with what problem specifically. 1. Generate and test – generate a number of solutions and then test the solutions. Useful if there are a limited number of possibilities. Problematic if there are too many possibilities or can’t keep track of them. 2. Means –end - Problem space: Try to reduce the difference between the initial state and the goal state. Involves generating a goal and then sub goals (each intermediate state) Initial state – conditions at beginning of problem Goals state – condition at the end of problem Intermediate states – various conditions that exist along pathways between the initial and goal state Operators – permissible moves that can be made towards the problems solution 3. Working backward – Involves creating sub goals and reducing differences between the current state and the goal state (like means end) BUT here you start at the end result (goal state) and work backwards. Instead of looking at the next step, look at the step that should happen before. 4. Back tracking – problem solving often involved making working assumptions, in order to correct mistakes in problem solving need to remember your assumptions, assess which assumptions failed and correct the assumptions. And look at what when right and do it again etc. 5. Reasoning by analogy - Ex. Tumor problem 1945. Want to destroy it but rays will destroy the healthy tissue. Solve something you don’t understand by comparing it to something that you DO understand. Gick and Holyoak: Presented participants with the tumor problem, before this each person read the castle story some where told there was a hint to pay attention, results: 75% of the individuals told the story solved it right. Only 30% that were not told noticed the analogy. Only 10% solved this – Didn’t read the story at all. Story: inoperable tumor, if you concentrate the rays a
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