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1

What are the 2 basic types of problems?

1. Well-defined problems.
2. Ill-defined problems.

2

What are well-defined problems?

Problems in which the goal is well-defined. It is, therefore, easy to know or recognise when the problem has been solved.

3

What are ill-defined problems?

Problems in which the goal is ill-defined. It is, therefore, difficult/impossible to know when the problem has been solved.

4

Historically, what are the 2 approaches psychologist have used to understand problem solving?

1. Gestalt tradition.
2. Cognitive tradition.

5

Describe the gestalt tradition as an approach to understanding problem solving.

Understanding a problem as a process of restructuring/reorganising one's understanding of a problem to have insight into its solution.

6

Describe the cognitive tradition as an approach to understanding problem solving.

Understand problems solving as a process of "moving" from the current mental state, in which the problem is unsolved, to a new mental state which corresponds to (or represents) the problems solution.

7

Gestalt psychologists are interested in how people ________ problems.

Gestalt psychologists are interested in how people represent problems.

8

In gestalt tradition, what is restructuring?

The process of changing how a problem is represented to find a solution.

9

In gestalt tradition, what is insight?

The sudden realisation of a problems solution, often after some incubation period during which the problem is not consciously thought about.

10

Give two novel examples of 'insight' in gestalt tradition:

1. Archimedes "eureka!" moment.
2. Sultan the chimp the who learned beyond simple trial and error how to get fruit with sticks and equipment.

11

According to Gestalt tradition, what are the two reasons why problems are difficult to solve?

1. Functional fixedness.
2. Negative set.

12

According to Gestalt tradition, what is functional fixedness?

When a persons conceptualisation of an objects function or typical use inhibits the persons capacity to use the object for different functions.

13

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the hypothesis for Dunker's (1945) candle problem.

Does a persons conceptualisation of objects and their uses result in functional fixedness?

14

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the method and logic for Dunker's (1945) candle problem.

Subjects were presented with a candle and a box of thumb tacks, and were instructed to mount the candle on the wall. The thumb tacks were presented either inside or outside the box.

15

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the results for Dunker's (1945) candle problem.

Subjects who were presented thumbtacks outside the box, were more likely to use them to mount the box on the wall as a shelf for the candle.

Evidence of restructuring and functional fixedness.

16

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the hypothesis for Metcalfe and Wiebe (1987) experiment.

Are insight problems qualitatively different from non-insight problems?

17

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the method and logic for Metcalfe and Wiebe (1987) experiment.

Subjects solved 2 types of problems:

1. Standard, non-insight problems.
2. Insight problems.

Were asked every 15 secs how close they were to solving the problem.

18

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the results for Metcalfe and Wiebe (1987) experiment.

1. Standard, non-insight problems solved gradually.
2. Insight problems solved suddenly.

Evidence of a negative set.

19

Gestalt tradition:

What is functional fixedness?

an impaired ability to discover a new use for an object, owing to the subject's previous use of the object in a functionally dissimilar context.

20

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the method and logic for Luchins (1942) water jar experiment.

Participants were given 3 water jars with different capacities. They were asked to figure out how to measure out a certain amount of water using the 3 cars.

21

Gestalt tradition:

Describe the results for Luchins (1942) water jar experiment.

Subjects used methods used previously to find the solution, even though there were quicker and more efficient methods available.

Evidence of negative sets. Mental sets can hinder the solving of novel problems.

22

Gestalt tradition:

When a problem cannot be solved using previous solutions, one has to solve the problem directly and generate novel solutions. This is called the

extinction problem.

23

Gestalt tradition:

An incorrect solution to the extinction problem indicates the presence of the:

Einstellung effect.

24

Gestalt tradition:

One possible explanation for the results in Luchins (1942) water jar experiment is the:

Einstellung effect.

25

Cognitive tradition:

The cognitive tradition has as its core the idea of the:

problem space.

26

Cognitive tradition:

What 3 things is the 'problem space' comprised of?

1. The initial (current) state,
2. The goal state,
3. All possible states in between.

27

Cognitive tradition:

In problem space, the actions/rules that people take in order to move from one state to another are known as:

operators.

28

Cognitive tradition:

In problem space, the process of applying operators to obtain intermediate states (i.e. sub-goals) that are then used to reach a goal state are called:

Sub-goals and sub-goal decomposition.

29

Cognitive tradition:

Solutions that are guaranteed to work, but may be difficult to use, are called:

algorithms.

30

Cognitive tradition:

"Quick and dirty" solutions, that often work but are not guaranteed (i.e. rule of thumb) are called:

Heuristics.