309: Lecture 8
– The World of Problem-Solving:
+ defined as “the act of finding ways to deal with problems”
+ need to develop skills and strategies to identify problem and find solutions to solve it.
+ the moment where you suddenly know how to solve a problem
– Problem-solving examples #1&2:
+ a difficult division problem.... no remainder
- easy problem = get rid of 0's so it would be 18/9
- we make simple questions more difficult than it needs to be
– Altar window problem:
+ the circle represents the altar window and the area around it represents the space that's adjacent.
+ want to circle the area around the altar window... need to figure out how much paint I need
+ structurally-blind thinking – bringing in background knowledge to solve the problem, makes it
much harder to solve it. Such as geometry.
+ productive thinking is easier thinking, more simple. Like how children would think. Take the
problem as it is.
– Counterfeit coin problem
+ know it's counterfeit cause it's lighter than the others
+ 1 in 8 coins is lighter.
+ determine which one... use of a scale. Can only use it twice.
– There's a mental rigidity of how we think of a problem.
– The importance of tool use:
+ functional fixedness
+ tendency to think about tools in a certain way.
+ ie: hammer used to pound things, such as hammer.
- difficulty using hammer in another way
– Give someone a box of things to solve a problem
+ a box full of junk that might be useful or junk in a empty box – box is used
+ utilized – used for its purpose
+ pre-utilization – using objects for what is typically used for
+ no pre-utilization
+ takes adult more longer to solve problem if given a box full of junk – reminded of what an
object does makes it difficult to think what it can be used for
– Measurement problem
+ use jars to obtain specific amount of fluid. No eyeballing to get an exact number of fluid into
+ Einstellung effect: continuing to use a strategy when a simpler way is more possible. Rigidity.
- negative transfer – takes longer cause it's the extra amount of time to solve the problem by being
- strong but wrong tendency
+ realization of what the answer is – all pieces fit together
+ not all problems involve insight
+ ie: complicated multi-step math problem... doesn't operate them when there's 8 steps. + feeling of warmth vs knowing
- know you're gonna solve a math problem when as you go through the steps, you kind of get to
- go through each step, get closer to answer...
+ have absolutely no feeling to solve the problem – out of the blue, there's a ramp up of insight.
No hints. You know the answer to, or you don't. Binary shift.
– Hints may lead to insight:
+ two-string problem
+ string in one side of room, one on other. Can't get it if you grab one string to grab the other.
+ productive solution and potential hint
– The process of problem-solving:
+ progress monitoring theory: if trying to solve a problem with insight, think of a way to figure
out the problem and chip at it for awhile... monitoring progress. 5 mins later, am I getting
anywhere?After some time, depending on pain threshold, maybe considering of restructuring the
– Brain scanner
+ when gain insight, check!
+ check which areas of brain lights up when gained insight
+ anterior cingulate – region ofACC, relationship to tip of the tongue phenomenon.Area of the
brain that lights up when needing help, difficulty monitor. Calling on other brain regions to help
solve the problem
+ activated regions in hippocampus.
+ little sleep → little insight
– Mindfulness & Mindlessness:
+ Einstellung effect suggests that people may behave in mindless ways more than they should
+ mindful = think outside of the box
+ experiment: come into the room with bunch of objects on the desk. One of them is a blue rubber
dog chew toy. One condition: used as a rubber chew toy – suggesting what they could be used for,
but also leaving the door open for other possible uses. Then experimenter needed an eraser...
maybe use the toy as eraser because it's rubber.
- more likely to be thinking flexibly if things presented to you are flexible
+ conditional/unconditional descriptions → reduce mindlessness
– Cognitive flexibility and the SAS:
+ flexibility... trying new things when current approach doesn’t work – brain that's important for
this is the left DLPFC
- part of prefrontal cortex that's dorsal and lateral
- important for working memory and manipulating information
- damage to it... when solving the problem and if it doesn't work, they have difficulty restructuring
the problem much more than a intact frontal lobe person
– Components of Prob