Problem Solving Flashcards Preview

Cognitive > Problem Solving > Flashcards

Flashcards in Problem Solving Deck (35)
Loading flashcards...

What is cognition?

the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience, and the senses. A perception, sensation, or intuition resulting from this


What is the textbook definition of cognition? (Eysenck and Keane (2015))

“concerned with the internal processes involved in making sense of the environment and deciding what action might be appropriate. These processes include attention, perception, learning, memory, language, problem solving, reasoning and thinking”


What is Duncker (1945) definition of a problem?

a problem arises when a living organism has a goal, but does not know how this goal is to be reached”


What is a broad definition of a problem?

Wide range of activities would count as problem solving: perceiving, learning, decision-making, communicating, writing a novel, running a 4- minute mile...


What is a narrow definition of a problem?

several steps (from start to goal), conscious, requires planning and well-defined goal


What did Eysenck and Keane (2010) believe what 3 components were involved in a problem?

– purposeful (goal-directed)
– involves cognitive (not automatic) processes
– only exists when someone lacks the relevant knowledge to produce an immediate solution (e.g. mathematical equation harder for those who don’t know maths, depends on the individual)


What is the Two string problem (Maier, 1931)?

-Task is to tie one string to the other
-Cannot reach one string while holding the other
-Room contains objects such as poles, pliers and extension cords


What is the Tower of Hanoi problem

-Three pegs with round pieces on them
-Need to move pieces from first peg to last peg
-Larger piece always has to be under a smaller piece


What are the two types of problems?

insight and non-insight


What is an insight problem?

solutions require a one-off insight – e.g. Two-string problem. Sudden realisation of how the problem can be solved, mental reorganisation.


What is a non-insight problem?

require incremental and sequential problem solving – e.g. Tower of Hanoi, algebra. Not a sudden flash of realisation, steps to reach the goal, trial and error (rules in place)


What did Jung-Beeman et al (2004) find in an FMRI study looking at the remote associates test?

-FMRI study
-Remote associates test
-Given three words, need to give a fourth word to go with the other three words
-Had to indicate whether they came up with the solution with insight or something different
-Right anterior superior temporal gyrus was activated only when solutions involved insight


Are insight and non-insight seperate?

-Often theories consider insight and non-insight problems separately
-Representational change theory
-General problem solver


What is the  Representational Change Theory (Ohlsson 1992)?

-Insight problems permit several mental representations
-Current representation is used to search memory for relevant information
-A block occurs when the problem representation is inappropriate, occurs when the representation of the problem is inappropriate


How can a block be changed in the representational change theory?

-The block can be passed by changing the representation
-This can occur in 3 ways: 1. elaboration: new information (e.g. a hint, given more information) 2. constraint relaxation: extend ideas of what actions are possible 3. re-encoding (e.g. pliers can act as a weight, reinterpret the aspect of the problem)
-Insight often follows the formation of a correct representation, sudden realisation of how it can be solved


What is the The mutilated chessboard problem?

-An intact board (64 squares) can be covered by 32 dominoes. Can the remaining 62 squares be filled by 31 dominoes?
-Remove two squares from diagonally top and bottom corners
-Can’t work, as two squares of the same colour has been removed, domino needs to cover two different colours


What did Knoblich, Ohlsson & Raney (2001) find with match sticks?

-Making problems using matchsticks
-E.g. IV = III – I
-Move a single matchstick to produce a true statement


What did an eye tracking study find with the match stick study?

-Participants spent more time fixating the values than the operators
-Suggests that their representations of the problem specified that the values needed to change
-Fixations on the operators increased as participants approached a solution
-Constraint relaxation?


What is The nine dot problem?

-Draw 4 straight lines to go through all 9 dots without lifting your pen from the paper
-Allow the lines to go outside of the box, form insight
-Assume you cannot go outside the box, ‘thinking outside the box’


What did MaxGregor, Ormerod and Chronicle (2001) find using cues in the nine dot problem?

-Asked to solve the 9 dot problem, given a cue
-One saw a line going out of the box, other saw line within the box
-Inside the box is more effective (53%) vs outside the box (31%)
-You notice that inside the box is an unhelpful cue, makes you change your strategy very quickly
-Useless cue more effective, more likely to abandon
-Progress monitoring theory


What did Newell & Simon (1972) find when making a computer programme for problem solving?

-Create a computer programme to become a General Problem Solver
-Problems represented in ‘problem space’
-Given any problem which can be solved
-Initial state and goal state (which you work towards), between there are a number of intermediate states, operators which let you reach the goal state
-Problem-solving involves a range of different knowledge states between initial state and goal state


What is Means-ends analysis?

(assessing the difference between the initial state and the goal state, choosing operators to allow you to reach the goal. Clear view around you to make a plan, create sub goals)


What is Hill climbing ?

(choosing an operator which changes the state which is similar to the goal state)
-These approaches were based on participants ‘thinking aloud’ during problem solving


What issues are there with problem solving?

-Individual differences
-Tendency towards being descriptive rather than predictive


What can lead to transfer?

Previous experience can lead to positive or negative transfer


What is the Candle problem (Duncker, 1945)?

-Attach the candle to the wall without it dripping
-Given matches, tacks and matches


How can negative transfer occur in the candle problem?

-‘Functional fixedness’ – box is for holding tacks, not candles
-Improved performance if the tack box is empty at the start of the task


What did Lunchins (1942) find about well practised stratergies?

-Well practiced strategies are often used in inappropriate situations
-Past experience can be detrimental to performance on some tasks
-“…habituation creates a mechanised state of mind, a blind attitude towards problems; one does not look at the problem on its own merits but is led by a mechanical application of a used method.”


What is positive transfer?

-Past experiences can be helpful
-Research has tended to focus on analogical problem solving: – The use of similarities between the current problem and relevant previous problems


What solutions did Duncker (1945) find in the tumour case study?

-Tumour problem
-Convergence: several rays at low rate combined to destroy tumour
-Open passage