PSYC 213 - Chapter 11

PSYC 213 - Chapter 11 - CHAPTER 11: PROBLEM SOLVING...

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CHAPTER 11: PROBLEM SOLVING Introduction - There are two dominant approaches to studying problem solving: 1. The Gestalt approach, which describes problems solving as involving restructuring 2. The information-processing approach, which describes problem solving as involving search - Analogies can also be used to solve problems – this method combines both restructuring and search What Is a Problem? - A problem occurs when there is an obstacle between a present state and a goal, and it is not immediately obvious how to get around the obstacle - Well-defined problems usually have a correct answer (for example a math or physics problem) o there are certain procedures, when applied correctly that will lead to the correct answer - Ill-defined problems which occur frequently in everyday life do not necessarily have one “correct” answer (for example picking a career) o The path to their solution is often unclear - Psychological research has focused on well-defined problems The Gestalt Approach: Problem Solving as Representation and Restructuring - Problem solving for the Gestalt psychologists was about 1. How people represent a problem in their mind 2. How solving a problem involves a reorganization or restructuring of this representation Representing a Problem in the Mind - The solution to a problem is obtained by first perceiving the object and then representing it in a different way - This process is called restructuring Insight in Problem Solving - Restructuring is associated with insight – a sudden realization of a problem’s solution 1
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- The Gestalt psychologists assumed that people solving their problems were experiencing insight because the solutions usually seemed to come to them all of a sudden - This concept is debatable with some scientists emphasizing the lack of evidence other than anecdotal reports - Janet Metcalfe and David Wiebe did an experiment distinguish between insight problems and noninsight problems Prediction: They predicted that participants working on an insight problem should not be very good at predicting how near they are to a solution, but that participants working on a noninsight problem which involves a more methodical process, would have some knowledge that they are getting closer to the solution Results: The median warmth ratings (how close they thought they were to the solution) for the insight problems jumped suddenly from at around 15 seconds before solving. In contrast, for the algebra problems, the ratings gradually increased until the problem was solved. - Gestalt psychologists wanted to learn about the processes involved in problem solving by studying the obstacles to problem solving Obstacles to Problem Solving - One of the major obstacles to problem solving is fixation – people’s tendency to focus on a specific characteristic of the problem that keeps them from arriving at a solution (for example focusing on familiar uses of an object) - Restricting the use of an object to its familiar functions is called functional fixedness
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This note was uploaded on 02/13/2011 for the course PSYC 213 taught by Professor Levitin during the Winter '08 term at McGill.

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PSYC 213 - Chapter 11 - CHAPTER 11: PROBLEM SOLVING...

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