lec09-3 - Analogical Reasoning Psychology 355: Cognitive...

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Analogical Reasoning Psychology 355: Cognitive Psychology Winter Quarter 2009 3/4/2009
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UW Psych 355, Miyamoto, Win '08 2 Outline • Set and Functional Fixedness in Problem Solving • Examples of Analogical Reasoning • Cognitive Analysis of the Structure of an Analogy • Experimental Studies of Analogical Reasoning • Basic finding: It is easier to notice analogies that you are looking for than to discover new analogies.
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 3 Set in Problem Solving • Set refers to a person's implicit assumptions about how to solve a problem. Goldstein textbook calls it "situationally produced mental set" (pp. 403). "Set" is the more common term in traditional psychology. • Set can be helpful or harmful to one's ability to solve a problem. Helpful set versus a misleading set. • Example: One the Cheap Necklace Problem, if you wrongly assume that you have to open the links at the ends of the chains, this is a harmful set. • Example: If you are in your apartment and are trying to remember where you left you house keys, you can imagine the sequence of places you stopped as you entered your apartment, e.g., at the closet, in the kitchen, in your bedroom, etc. The strategy of retracing your steps is a problem solving set that is often helpful.
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 4 Functional Fixedness • Functional fixedness: Tendency to assume that objects can only serve their typical functions. • Maier's Two String Problem: Goal = To tie two strings together that hang from the ceiling. The strings are too far apart to reach both at once. • Solution: Tie the pliers to one string. Swing it like a pendulum so that you can reach it while holding the other string. o 40% solve problem with no hint. o 62% solve problem when the experimenter "accidentally" brushes against a string, setting it in motion.
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 5 Duncker's Candle Problem • You have the materials shown above (subjects receive the actual materials). • You are in a room with a corkboard for a wall. • Your task is to mount a candle on the wall in such a fashion that the wax does not drip on the floor. • How do you do it?
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 6 Solution to the Candle Problem • Solution: Use the tacks to attach the matchbox to the wall. Mount the candle on the matchbox. • Functional fixedness: Matchbox is seen only as a container of matches, not as a potential support for the candle. • Adamson (1952): o 80% of subjects solve the problem if the matchbox is empty. o 40% of subjects solve the problem if matches are in the matchbox. • Adamson's finding supports the functional fixedness hypothesis. When the matchbox is empty, it is easier to see that it can serve a different function from that of containing something.
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P 355, Miyamoto, Winter '09 7 Conclusions: Functional Fixedness • Set refers to helpful or harmful assumptions that guide problem solving. They are often unconscious assumptions.
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lec09-3 - Analogical Reasoning Psychology 355: Cognitive...

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