PSYC 301L Chapter 12: Chapter 12

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Chapter 12 • Problem- obstacle between present state and a goal without an obvious solution • Gestalt psychologists focused on: o Mental representations of problems o How solving requires reorganization/restructurization of this representation • Restructuring- process of changing a problem’s representation o Insight- sudden realization of the solution • Metcalfe & Wiebe (1987) tried to distinguish between insight and non-insight problems o People solving insight problems shouldn’t know how close they are to the solution while those solving noninsight problems should have a good idea • Fixation- tendency to focus on a problem’s characteristic that is keeping them from finding the solution o Functional fixedness- focus on typical or familiar uses for an object ▪ Candle problem- mount a candle to a corkboard without dripping wax with matches, candles, and thumbtacks • Have to think of an alternate use for the matchbox (a tray) ▪ Two string problem- tie together two pieces of string hanging from the ceiling with pliers • Have to think of the pliers as a weight to make a pendulum o Mental set- preconceptions of how to solve a problem based on what has worked in the past ▪ Water jug problem- measure 100 quarts of water using 21 quart, 127 quart, and 3 quart jugs • Mental set group and no mental set group o Control group used simpler solutions • Tower of Hanoi problem- move three rings from left peg to right peg while following rules o Initial state- conditions at the beginning of the problem o Goal state- solution o Operators- actions that take you from the initial state to the goal state o Intermediate states- between initial and goal states o Problem space- all possible states that could occur when solving a problem o Means-end analysis- reduce differences between initial and goal states ▪ Subgoals- intermediate states closer to goal states • Mutilated checkerboard problem- if you can cover a checkerboard with 32 dominoes can you cover one wit
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