HPSLec4Gest2010 - Lecture#4 Human Problem Solving AGENDA I...

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1 Lecture #4 Human Problem Solving AGENDA I. Philosophical Precursors to Gestalt Psychology A. Pythagoreans B. Plato vs. Aristotle on Concept Learning C. Kant and the Categories of Thought II. Gestalt Psychology A. Origins and Nature B. Kohler’s Theory of Problem Solving III. Solutions to Brain teasers involving ‘Insight’
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2 I. Philosophical Precursors to Gestalt Psychology In the area of human problem solving, the Gestalt School of psychology developed a theory of problem solving that is more in the rationalist spirit. The theory had philosophical precursors just like the empiricist theory and associationism. Several Greek philosophers and later ‘German’ philosophers provided this background.
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3 Empiricism vs. Rationalism Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Berkeley Edward Thorndike, Most Behaviorists Pythagoras, Plato, Descartes, Kant, Wolfgang Kohler, Gestalt Psychologists Experience in World, Reflections Innate Ideas, Reason Simple and Complex Ideas, Associations Holistic Concepts, Meaningful Wholes Sequences of Ideas, Trial and Error Reconfiguration of Concepts, Insight Some Major Players Source of Knowledge Units of Thought What is Thinking?
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4 Pythagoras (ca. 580-500 B.C.) born on Island of Samos near East of Turkey The basis of the universe is natural numbers and their relationships Rational numbers are ratios of whole numbers, r=p/q (1/3, 56/89, ...). They have lots of interesting mathematical properties: densely packed, unlimited size, admit to operations (=,+, -, etc.). A. Pythagoras and Pythagoreans
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5 How Did He Come to this View? Numbers crop up in Astronomy- periodicities of orbits Architecture- relative sizes and angles, Pythagorean theorem Esthetics- The Golden Section Music relative string lengths and tonal harmony Numbers are “real” and perfect, material things are imperfect. OOPS is not rational!!! 2 b a c c 2 = a 2 + b 2 b a a a + b = b a
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The Golden Section This has been of interest for over 2500 years 6
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7 The Pythagorean Cult Pythagoras created an influential cult of mathematician-philosophers. They reinterpreted the Dionysiac/Orphic religion. Soul trapped in body, distrust of senses, seek knowledge through pure thought (rationalism), seek absolute principles based on innate knowledge.
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8 Lasting Implications of the Pythagoreans Many other Greeks established areas of formal mathematics, e.g. Euclid's (325-265 B.C.) Elements , 13 packed volumes covering plane geometry etc. Euclidean geometry is a part of high school requirements today! The importance of distrusting the senses. The urge to have absolute principles in scientific theories. The spirit of rationalism versus empiricism
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9 B. Plato and Aristotle on Concept learning Question: How do we acquire our concepts? Examples: “cat” , “freedom” , “triangle” ARISTOTLE - We abstract and generalize from experiences to the concept with our active mind EMPIRICISM/ INDUCTION The ability to induce is innate for Aristotle.
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