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Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Belief Bias, Flowchart, Confirmation Bias

Course Code
PSYCH 1000
Terry Biggs

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Reasoning and Problem Solving
Mental Representations
Mental representations take variety of forms including:
Cognition consists of the re-organization and manipulation of mental
representations in a goal directed manner
There are two major forms of reasoning we may employ in this process:
1 Deductive. 2 Inductive
Deductive Reasoning
Reason from general principles to a conclusion
Useful process in forming hypotheses
Inductive Reasoning
Start with specific facts and try to develop a general principle
Stumbling Blocks in Reasoning
Distraction by irrelevant information
Failure to apply deductive rules
Belief bias
Mental set
-Approach most problem from same starting point
- Set to solve a problem the same as successful problem solving in
your past
Problem-Solving Schemata
Step-by-step scripts for selecting information and solving special
The use of problem-solving schemata is an important aspect of expert
Formulas or procedures for generating correct solutions
Cannot make an error
Computers programed with algorithms so they don’t make mistakes
Ex. Spell check
Mental shortcuts that may or may not provide correct solutions
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An Algorithm is a specific process account of a action series which always
produces a correct answer
We can determine the most likely algorithm for a task without knowing the
specific areas where the task is performed.
Take a math example: if children are using a counting algorithm they should
require more time to solve problems which involve more counting.
If the amount of counting required does not affect the time taken to solve
the problem then they must be using another process, for example, fact
Counting: how much is 2 groups of 5?
1 count a group of five
2 count a second group of five IIIII
3 place the two groups together IIIIIIIIII
4 count the number of elements
Fact retrieval: how much is 2 groups of 5?
1 access multiplication table for 5
2 Select correct entry (the one with elements matching problem)
Problem Solving Heuristics
Means-ends analysis
Identify differences between present state and goal state
Make changes to reduce the differences
Subgoal analysis
Take intermediate steps toward an ultimate solution
Representativeness Heuristic
Used to infer how closely something or someone fits our prototype for
a particular concept
Availability Heuristic
Leads us to base judgments on the availability of information in memory
Confirmation bias
The tendency to look for evidence that will confirm beliefs
Problem Solving
Two types of problems
1. Those which bear a resemblance to past problems.
2. Those which are unique
For those Unique problems memory alone is insufficient to provide a solution
A solution here requires Creative or Productive thinking
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