Problemsolving: the cognitive processes used in transforming starting information into a goal state, using
specified means of solution.
Focused thinking begins with a clear starting point and has a specific goal.
Unfocused thinking has the character of daydreaming, or unintentionally calling to mind a number of
different and loosely related ideas.
Thinking: a cognitive process used to transform or manipulate information that may be either focused (that is,
solving problems with clear goals) or unfocused (that is, invoking loosely related ideas without clear purpose).
Solving a specific kinds of puzzle or mysteries.
Reasoning encompasses the cognitive processes we use wen we draw inferences from information given to us.
Provide basis for hypotheses and tests using more objective measures.
Introspection: a methodological technique in which trained observers are asked to reflect on, and report on, their
conscious experience while performing cognitive tasks.
Psychologists usually use these kinds of problems because they are easy to present, they don't take a long
time to solve, and they are easy to score and change.
Performance on well-defined problems are not correlated with performance on an ill-defined one.
Well-defined problems: a problem whose goals, starting information, and legal steps are stated explicitly.
Ill-defined problems: a problem that does not have the goals, starting information, and/or legal steps stated
Loses its effectiveness very rapidly when there are many possibilities and when there is no particular
guidance for the generation process.
Useful when there aren't many possibilities to keep track of.
Generate-and-test technique: a problem-solving strategy in which the solver enumerates (generates) possible
solutions and then tries each to see if it constitutes a solution.
Through the creation of subgoals, the task is broken down into manageable steps that allow a full solution
It first looks at the object given and compares it to the desired object to detect any differences.
Operations used are chosen with the aim of reducing differences between actual and desired
Keeps track of various kinds of differences between desired and actual objects and to work on
the most difficult differences first.
Considers operations available to change objects.
GPS, or General Problem Solver solves problems in cryptic arithmetic and in logic using means-ends analysis.
Problem solver must act less blindly than generate-and-test because it forces them to analyze aspects of the
problem before starting to work on it and to generate a plan to solve it.
Not the most efficient because sometimes to achieve a goal you must move a temporary step backward or
Means-ends analysis: a problem-solving strategy in which the solver compares the goal to the current state, then
chooses a step to reduce maximally the difference between them.
Like means-ends analysis, it involves establishing subgoals.
Most effective when the backward path is unique.
Shares with means-ends analysis the technique of reducing differences between the current state and the
Working backward: a problem-solving technique that identifies the final goal and the steps, in reverse order, that
are necessary to reach the goal.
Reasoningby analogy: problem solving that employs an analogy between the current problem and another
problem that has already been solved.
Gick and Holyoakrefers to the analogy problem as the induction of an abstract schema.
Only 30% of participants spontaneously noticed the analogy, although 75% solved the problem if told that
the story of the general would be useful in constructing the solution (for comparison, only about 10% solved
the problem without the story).
By providing multiple examples it helps participants form an abstract schema, which they later apply
Later, Gick and Holyoakfound that they could do away with explicit hints if they gave two analogous stories
Dunckerargued from studying the performance of several participants that problem solving is not a matter of blind
trial and error; rather, it involves a deep understanding of the elements of the problem and their relationships.
Chapter 10. Thinking, Problem Solving, and Reasoning