# PSYC 1001 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Representativeness Heuristic, Belief Perseverance, Availability Heuristic

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**preview**shows page 1. to view the full**5 pages of the document.**Chapter 8 – Thought (pg.365- 386)

Problem Solving

•Active efforts to discover what must be done to achieve a goal that is not readily

attainable

•1. problem presents itself

•2. plan a potential solution

•3. execute said solution

•4. check results

Types of Problems (Jim Greeno – 1978)

•Problems of inducing structure – requires people to discover the relationships among

numbers, words, symbols, and ideas.

oYou must make connections between things in order to solve the problem

oEx: analogy problem and series completion problem

•Problems of arrangement – requires people to arrange parts of the problem in a way that

satisfies some criterion. The parts can usually be arranged in many ways, but only one or

a few of the arrangements form a solution.

oInsight – sudden discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts

based primarily on trial and error

oEx: string problem and the anagrams

•Problems of transformations – require people to carry out a sequence of transformations

in order to reach a specific goal.

oYou must carry out a planned sequence step to solve the problem

oYou must re-arrange things to solve the problem

oEx: hobbits and orcs problem and water jar problem

•Well-defined problem

oInformation is clearly provided

oGoal is stated

oConstraints are specific

•Ill-defined problem

oOne of the above is vague or undefined

Barriers to Problem Solving

•Irrelevant Information – people tend to want to incorporate all information into the

solution.

oIrrelevant information can distract from the solution

oExample: In the Thompson family, there are 5 brothers, and each brother has one

sister. If you count Mrs. Thompson, how many females are there in the Thompson

family? -2-

oParticularly prone to focusing on numerical/quantitative information regardless of

whether it is relevant or not

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•Functional Fixedness – the tendency to perceive an item only in terms of its most

common use; inability to think outside the box.

oAdults are more vulnerable to this because children have less knowledge about

the conventional uses of various objects

oEx: screwdriver – turning screws & prying things open; hard time viewing it as

weight

•Mental Set – exists when people persist in using problem-solving strategies that have

worked in the past.

o“fresh eyes” are sometimes helpful

oExample – opening a door (pull/push)

•Unnecessary Constraints – putting limitations on the solution to a problem that inhibit

your ability to solve the problem. Restrictions that you impose on the solution to a

problem that do not need to be imposed.

oEx: “nine-dot problem” – without lifting your pencil, draw no more than 4 lines

that cross through all 9 dots. Solution: you can draw outside the box

•Problem Space – the set of possible pathways to a solution considered by the problem

solver.

Approaches / Strategies for Problem Solving

•Trial & Error – involves trying possible solutions and discarding those that are in error

until one works.

•Algorithm – a methodical, step-by-step procedure for trying all possible alternatives in

searching for a solution to a problem.

oEx: to solve an anagram, write out all possible arrangements of the letters until

you reach an answer. It guarantees that once can eventually find a solution

•Heuristics – a guiding principle or “rule of thumb” used in solving problems or making

decisions. (Shortcuts)

oWill cut down the answers

oExamples - Forming subgoals, working backwards. Searching for analogies,

changing the representation of the problem.

•Forming Subgoals - intermediate steps toward the solution. Example: Tower of Hanoi

•Working Backward – some problems are easiest to solve when you start with the end goal

and work backward. Example: lily pond problem

•Searching for Analogies – relating the current problem to a previous problem–solution set

Example: ‘You are asked to make apple juice, but you have never made it before.

–Perhaps you can use your preference experience of making orange juice?

•Changing your Perspective – changing the representation of the problem

oConsider time, distance, visual imagery, etc.

•Take a Break – you may see the problem in a different light

oIncubation effect – occurs when new solutions surface for a previously unsolved

problem after a period of not consciously thinking about the problem.

oSleep

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