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Lecture 12

PSY 260 Lecture 12: Chapter 12 Notes
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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY 260
Professor
Arthur Samuel
Semester
Fall

Description
PSY 260 Fall 2015 Chapter 12: Problem Solving I. Problem Solving A problem occurs when there is an obstacle between a present state and a goal and it is not immediately obvious how to get around the obstacle II. Types of Problems 1. Well-defined problems a. Correct answer, certain procedures will lead to solution b. E.g., math: 2 + 2 = 4 2. Ill-defined problems a. Path to solution is unclear, no one “correct” answer b. E.g., finding an apartment III. Approaches to Solving Problems 1. Insight: Classic Gestalt Research a. A sudden realization of a problem’s solution b. An “a-ha!” moment 2. Formal approaches: More Recent Work - Step-by-step methods IV. Gestalt Psychology - Gestalt psychologists: insight problems - Focused on “framing” of a problem - Initial framing may not work - Insight: new framing Kohler (1925): Sultan the Chimp - Used tool (stick) to pull bananas into cage - Frustrated when given 2 short sticks - Suddenly, Sultan put the 2 sticks together and solved this problem - Kohler: problems are solved by insight: suddenly - Requires considering problem elements in relation to other elements – framing the problem Mental Set - A frame of mind that leads to a particular way or representing or solving a problem - Seeing a problem one way instead of other plausible ways due to experience or context V. Obstacles to Problem Solving 1. Ineffective mental set 2. Mental set 3. Functional fixedness (Gestalt) - a bias to use an object in its traditional way VI. Dunker’s Radiation Problem (Gick & Holyoak – 1980, 1983) You are a doctor with a patient who ahs an inoperable stomach tumor. You have at your disposal x-rays that can destroy human tissue when directed with sufficient intensity. How can you use these x-rays to destroy the tumor without destroying the surrounding healthy tissue? VII. Duncker (1945): Fortress Problem A general wishes to capture an enemy fortress. Radiating outward from the fortress are many roads, each mined in such a way that the passing of any large force will cause an explosion. This preludes a full-scale direct attack. How can the general attack the fortress? - The general divided his army into small groups and dispatched each group to the head of a different road - When all was ready, he gave the signal and each group marched down a different road - Each group continued down its road to the fortress so that the entire army arrived together at the same time - Key insight needed for solution: divide up the forces to avoid the fatal consequences of keeping them together (until they join up, past the danger) Structural Similarities of the Fortress and Radiation Problems Fortress Problem Radiation Problem Fortress Tumor Mined roads Surrounding tissue Attacking troops Rays varying in intensity Small groups of troops converging on fortress Weak rays aimed at tumor VIII. Problem Solving by Analogy (Gick & Holyoak – 1980, 1983) 1. Problem Only (co
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