lec09-1 - Introduction to Problem Solving Psychology 355:...

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Introduction to Problem Solving Psychology 355: Cognitive Psychology Winter Quarter 2009 3/2/2009
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UW Psych 355, Miyamoto, Win '08 2 Outline • Definition of “problem” • Information processing versus Gestalt approach to problem solving • Tower of Hanoi – an example of an algorithmic problem • Insight problems o Problem representation o Problem restructuring o Problem isomorphs
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 3 Problem Solving • A problem is a situation where the present state differs from a goal state and it is not obvious how to change the present state into the goal state. o Initial state o Goal state o Permissible "moves" – ways to change the problem state from the initial state towards the goal state. Examples: • Math problems, physics problems, science problems generally. o Initial state: The given information in the problem. o Goal state: The “answer” or solution to the problem. • Route-finding problems. o Initial state: Initial position o Goal state: Desired final position • Practical problems, e.g., arranging furniture, building a mechanical device.
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 4 Key Ideas in the Psychology of Problem Solving • Problem representation – How the problem solver (PS) describes the problem to himself/herself. • Initial state •G o a l s t a t e
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 5 Algorithmic Problems versus Insight Problems Information Processing Approach versus Gestalt Approach • Problems with algorithmic solutions have a systematic procedure for transforming the initial problem state to the goal state in a series of steps. o Example: The Tower of Hanoi • Insight problems require mental restructuring of the problem representation to get a solution. o Circle problem (described in a previous lecture – also, later in this lecture) o Multilated checkerboard problem (described in a lab assignment) • Algorithmic and insight problems require somewhat different psychological processes to solve them. • Next: Example of an algorithmic problem (Tower of Hanoi). • Later: Three examples of insight problems (circle problem, multilated checkerboard problem, cheap necklace problem). .
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 6 The Tower of Hanoi • Tower of Hanoi is an algorithmic problem – there is a logically adequate strategy that will always solve this problem. Indeed, the algorithm can solve this problem even if there were 8, or even 8,000, rings that had to be moved.
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 7 Insight Problems • The solution of insight problems usually depends on finding a new way to represent the problem.
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This note was uploaded on 10/05/2009 for the course PSYCH 355 taught by Professor Miyamoto during the Winter '08 term at University of Washington.

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lec09-1 - Introduction to Problem Solving Psychology 355:...

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