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PSYCH 207: Midterm #4 Textbook Notes

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University of Waterloo
Jonathan Fugelsang

Chapter 10 THINKING PROBLEM SOLVING AND REASONINGThinking going beyond the information given o a complex and highlevel skill that fills up gaps in the evidence o a process of searching through a problem space o what we do when we are in doubt and how to act what to believe or what to desire o Focused thinking begins with a clear starting point and has a specific goal o Unfocused thinking has the character of daydreaming or unintentionally calling to mind a number of different and loosely related ideasIntrospection the detailed concurrent and nonjudgmental observation of the contents of your consciousness as you work on a problem o Dont explain or justify what youre thinking about just report itWelldefined problems have a clear goal present a small set of information to start from and often present a set of rules or guidelines to abide by while you are working towards a solution o Psychologists focus on these problems bc they are easy to present solved faster easy to score and easy to changeIlldefined problems dont have goals starting information or steps clearly spelled outCLASSIC PROBLEMS AND GENERAL METHODS OF SOLUTIONDomainspecific problem solving approaches work only for a limited class of problemsDomainindependent techniques general enough to be used with a wide variety of problemsGenerateandTest TechniqueGenerating possible solutions and testing them to see if they meet the criteriaEx when thinking of words that start with the letter c words like comet granola and bottle come to mind for example and you test whether or not each word actually starts with cThis doesnt work well when there are lots of possibilities and little guidance ex lock comboMeansEnds AnalysisComparing the goal with the starting point thinking of possible ways of overcoming the difference and choosing the best one ex different methods of travel from point A to BSubgoals are created to break the task down into smaller steps that can be followed 1 GPS General Problem Solver solves problems in crypt arithmetic where letters stand for digits and uses meansends analysisWhen comparing the thinking of humans to GPS o Humans generated verbal protocols o GPS produced a printout of its goals its subgoals and the operations it appliedMeansends analysis is a shortcut strategy as it guides the problem solver more in choosing what step to take next and forces one to analyze the problem before starting to work on itNOTE meansends isnt always optimal Some problems require you to take a step backwardsWorking BackwardUser analyzes the goal to determine the last step needed to achieve it then the nexttolast step and so on ex Towers of Hanoi o This involves establishing subgoals like in meansends analysisNOTE working backward is most effective when the backward path is unique which makes the process more efficient than working forwardReasoning by Analogythe tumor problem given a human being with an inoperable stomach tumor and rays that destroy organic tissue at sufficient intensity by what procedure can one free him of the tumor by these rays and at the same time avoid destroying the healthy tissue that surrounds it o ANSWER fire weak rays at all different angles so that they converge on the tumorReasoning by analogy When asked to solve this problem after reading a story that had a similar converging theme and told there was a hint more were able to solve the tumor problem o 75 of people solved it when the analogy was pointed out to them o 30 of people solved it without any hint of their correlation o 10 of people solved it without reading the analogous story beforehandReasoning by analogy using knowledge from one relatively known domain and applying it to another domainanalogies may not share surface features but share an underlying structure o Providing multiple examples rather than just 1 helps participants to form an abstract schema ex convergence which can be applied to new analogous problems 2
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