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Chapter 10

Chapter 10. Thinking, Problem Solving, and Reasoning

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Gabriela Ilie

Chapter 10. Thinking, Problem Solving, and Reasoning Monday, April 04, 2011 6:24 PM Problem solving: the cognitive processes used in transforming starting information into a goal state, using specified means of solution. 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). { 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. Reasoning encompasses the cognitive processes we use wen we draw inferences from information given to us. { Solving a specific kinds of puzzle or mysteries. Introspection: a methodological technique in which trained observers are asked to reflect on, and report on, their conscious experience while performing cognitive tasks. { Provide basis for hypotheses and tests using more objective measures. Well-defined problems: a problem whose goals, starting information, and legal steps are stated explicitly. { Psychologists usually use these kinds of problems because they are easy to present, they dont 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. Ill-defined problems: a problem that does not have the goals, starting information, andor legal steps stated explicitly. 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. { Loses its effectiveness very rapidly when there are many possibilities and when there is no particular guidance for the generation process. { Useful when there arent many possibilities to keep track of. 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. { Through the creation of subgoals, the task is broken down into manageable steps that allow a full solution to be constructed. { GPS, or General Problem Solver solves problems in cryptic arithmetic and in logic using means-ends analysis. It first looks at the object given and compares it to the desired object to detect any differences. Considers operations available to change objects. Operations used are chosen with the aim of reducing differences between actual and desired objects. Keeps track of various kinds of differences between desired and actual objects and to work on the most difficult differences first. { 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 further from the goal. Working backward: a problem-solving technique that identifies the final goal and the steps, in reverse order, that are necessary to reach the goal. { 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 goal state. Duncker argued 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. { Reasoning by analogy: problem solving that employs an analogy between the current problem and another problem that has already been solved. { Gick and Holyoak refers 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). { Later, Gick and Holyoak found that they could do away with explicit hints if they gave two analogous stories rather than one. By providing multiple examples it helps participants form an abstract schema, which they later apply www.notesolution.com
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