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Chapter 10

Chapter 10.docx

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Blaine Mullins

Chapter 10 – Problem Solving Problems - Problem: there is an obstacle between the current and goal state and it is not obvious how to overcome this obstacle » Well-defined problem: has a definite answer (ex. math problems) » Ill-defined problem: may have more than one answer (ex. what career) - Allow us to adapt to surroundings, research is based on problem solving and problem solving is associated with behaviour Insight and Gestalt Theory - Gestalt = form or configuration (Wertheimer) - Involves mentally structuring and restricting the problem - Gestalt switch: sudden change in how info is organized » Ex. when you look at an ambiguous stimuli can see both faces immediately but suddenly it changes into the other » Not slow and graded like in math - Insight problem: problem where you must look at it from a different angle before being able to solve it » Gives you all the info you need to solve it but have to restructure the problem » Ex. pairs of duck problem - Insight: ability to understand how parts of a situation are related to each other by perceptually restructuring the problem » Occurs simultaneously and suddenly all or nothing event » Involuntary appears without warning » Involves extended unconscious leap in thinking, accelerated mental processing, and restructuring elements in the problem to reveal new possibilities - Productive thinking: based on general principles that can be applied to any situation - Structurally blind thinking: tendency to reproduce thinking appropriate for other situations but not current situation » Ex. calculate area of square or divide 1,000,000,000 by 9 - Analysis of situation: determine function of object in the situation and how it could be used to solve the problem what is your current state and what is the goal state? » Functional fixedness: inability to see beyond object’s common function and recognize that it also has another function (ex. coin problem) - Hint: must be consistent with the way the person’s thinking in order to be useful (respond to particular difficulty) not always helpful » Ex. nine-dot problem told to draw line outside the problem but most people still couldn’t get it » Ex. 2-string problem if experimenter walked by the strings and they started swinging, then the person was able to solve it - Sleep allows people to generate insightful situations more often (ex. number reduction problem) » More sleep led to 59% insightful situation » Involved in memory consolidation (where memories become long term) - Incubation: walking away from the problem releases you from functional fixedness, allows you to retrieve new info and allows you to recover from fatigue - Feeling of warmth: feeling people get as they get closer to the solution of the problem » Common in step-wise progression solutions (ex. math problems) people are aware of their steps » Does not happen in insight problems warmth stays the same until it suddenly increases when you get the answer - Feeling of knowing: feeling that you will be able to solve the problem » Easier to predict for non-insight problems Current Approaches to Insight Problems - Progress monitoring theory: we monitor our progress in a problem and when we reach an impasse, we are more open to an insightful solution » The faster you go down a blind alley, the faster you search for alternatives » Ex. nine-dot problem people shown diagonal line connecting 3 dots got to answer faster than people shown line extending outside the box - Representational change theory: insight requires you to change how you represent the problem » Similar to Gestalt theory » Constraint relaxation: removing assumptions that are blocking the solution (ex. line must be in the square) » Chunk decomposition: separating problems into chunks and thinking about them separately » Both techniques are used to solve the matchstick problem (we spend more time on parts requiring relaxation or decomposition) - Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC): makes us more aware of conflicting responses activated during insight - Hippocampus is involved in consolidating memory allows insightful experience to be fixed in out LTM and be used later for survival Functional Fixedness - Tools usually only have one purpose (universally) occurs because most problems are solved by using the tool in the function it is designed for - Children at age 5 or younger are less prone to functional fixedness » Goal is to grab something from a higher shelf use box as something to stand on » Pre-utilization: box is filled with things (used for its actual purpose) » No pre-utilization: box is empty » Young children solved the problem in the fastest time for both conditions Flexibility-Rigidity Dimension - Einstellung effect: tendency to respond inflexibly to a particular type of problem also called a rigid set » Repeat the same way to solve the problem (ex. water jug problem use the same old rule and miss a simpler way to solve the problem) - Negative transfer: tendency to respond with previously learned sequences even when they are no longer appropriate (more trained in one rule = increased negative transfer to another task requiring a new rule) - Demanding and stressful situation can
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