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Problem Solving and Creativity
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  1. Chapter 11 Problem Solving and Creativity

  2. Introduction • problem solving—used when you want to reach a certain goal, but the solution is not immediately obvious and obstacles block your path • initial state • goal state • obstacles • thinking—requires you to go beyond the information you were given, so you can reach a goal • transformation of knowledge Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  3. Understanding the Problem • understanding the problem—construct a mental representation of the problem, based on the information provided in the problem and your own previous experience Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  4. Understanding the Problem • Paying Attention to Important Information identifying and then attending to the most relevant information Bransford and Stein (1984) • algebra story problems • distracting negative thoughts effective problem solvers read the description of a problem very carefully, paying particular attention to inconsistencies Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  5. Understanding the Problem • Methods of Representing the Problem • Symbols • translating words into symbols • oversimplification • misremembering the problem • Matrices • matrix—chart showing all possible combinations of items • most useful for complex, stable, categorical information Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  6. Understanding the Problem • Methods of Representing the Problem Diagrams • instructions for assembling objects • hierarchical tree diagram • graphs Visual Images Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  7. Understanding the Problem • Situated Cognition: The Importance of Context • situated-cognition approach—our ability to solve a problem is tied into the specific context in which we learned to solve that problem • abstract intelligence or aptitude tests often fail to measure real-life problem solving Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  8. Understanding the Problem • Situated Cognition: The Importance of Context real-life cognition more complex than traditional cognitive approach information-rich environments social information ecological validity transfer failure Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  9. Problem-Solving Strategies • algorithm • always produces a solution • sometimes inefficient • exhaustive search—try all possible answers • heuristic • general rule • strategy in which you ignore some alternatives and explore only those alternatives that seem especially likely to produce a solution • costs and benefits of using heuristics Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  10. Problem-Solving Strategies • The Analogy Approach • analogy approach—using a solution to a similar, earlier problem to help in solving a new problem • cross-cultural research • creative breakthroughs Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  11. Problem-Solving Strategies • The Analogy Approach The Structure of the Analogy Approach • determining the real problem • problem isomorphs • surface features • structural features • failure to see analogies Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  12. Problem-Solving Strategies • The Analogy Approach Factors Encouraging Appropriate Use of Analogies • hints on comparing problems can reveal structural similarities • trying several structurally similar problems before the target problem • training to sort problems into categories Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  13. Problem-Solving Strategies • The Means-Ends Heuristic • means-ends heuristic • identify the "ends" you want and then figure out the "means" to reach them • divide into subproblems • reducing the difference between the initial state and the goal state for each subproblem • can be used in either forward or backward direction Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  14. Problem-Solving Strategies • The Means-Ends Heuristic • Research on the Means-Ends Heuristic • Greeno (1974)—Hobbits-and-Orcs problem • organizing a sequence of moves to solve a subproblem • sometimes the solution requires temporarily increasing the distance to the goal Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  15. Problem-Solving Strategies • The Means-Ends Heuristic • Computer Simulation • computer simulation—computer program that will perform a task the same way that a human would • Newell and Simon's General Problem Solver • difficulties with ill-defined problems—problems where the goal is not obvious • Anderson's ACT model and "cognitive tutors" Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  16. Problem-Solving Strategies • The Hill-Climbing Heuristic • hill-climbing heuristic—when you reach a choice point, choose the alternative that seems to lead most directly toward your goal state • useful when only the immediate next step can be seen • less direct alternative may have greater long-term benefits • encourages short-term goals, rather than long-term solutions Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  17. Problem-Solving Strategies • Individual Differences: Cross-Cultural Comparisons in Problem-Solving Strategies • Güss and Wiley (2007) • students in U.S., Brazil, India • questionnaire on preferences in problem-solving strategies • frequency of use • effectiveness • ease of use Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  18. Cross-Cultural Comparisons in Problem-Solving Strategies Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  19. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • bottom-up processing • top-down processing • Expertise • expertise—consistent exceptional performance on representative tasks for a particular area • Knowledge Base • Memory • memory skills of experts tend to be very specific • chess experts' memory is better only if the information fits a particular schema Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  20. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • Expertise Problem-Solving Strategies • experts more likely to use the means-ends heuristic effectively • experts more likely to emphasize structural features when using the analogy approach Speed and Accuracy • parallel processing • serial processing Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  21. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • Expertise Metacognitive Skills • experts better than novices at monitoring their own problem solving • experts better at judging the difficulty of the problem, allocating time, recovering from errors • experts underestimate the amount of time novices will require to solve a problem in the experts' area of specialization Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  22. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • Mental Set • mental set—using the same solution from previous problems, even though the problem could be solved by a different, easier method • overactive top-down processing • Luchin's water-jar problem • fixed mindset • growth mindset Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  23. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • Functional Fixedness • functional fixedness—assign stable uses to an object and fail to think about the features of the object that might be useful in helping solve a problem • Duncker's candle problem • emergencies • cross-cultural studies Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  24. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving • our stereotypes can influence our beliefs about our own abilities • gender stereotypes Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  25. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving • The Nature of Stereotype Threat • struggling with a popular stereotype may cause additional anxiety that may lead to less effective problem solving • stereotype threat—if you belong to a group that is hampered by a negative stereotype—and you think about your membership in that group—your performance may suffer Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  26. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving Research with Asian American Females • Shih and coauthors (1999) • compare the effects of two competing stereotypes using three groups of Asian American women Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  27. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving Research with Asian American Females • Shih and coauthors (1999) (continued) • 1. Ethnicity-emphasis condition: One group of participants were asked to indicate their ethnicity and then answer several questions about their ethnic identity. Then they took a challenging math test. These women answered 54% of the questions correctly. Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  28. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving Research with Asian American Females • Shih and coauthors (1999) (continued) • 2. Control-group condition:A second group of participants did not answer any questions beforehand. They simply took the challenging math test. These women answered 49% of the questions correctly. Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  29. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving Research with Asian American Females • Shih and coauthors (1999) (continued) • 3. Gender-emphasis condition:A third group of participants were asked to indicate their gender and then answer several questions about their gender identity. Then they took the challenging math test. These women answered only 43% of the questions correctly. Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  30. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving Research with Asian American Females • Ambady and coauthors (2001) • found similar pattern among Asian American girls • reminding them of their gender resulted in a decline in problem-solving scores • reminding them of their ethnicity did not Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  31. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving Research with European American Females • O'Brien and Crandall (2003) • math test identified as "known to show gender differences" vs. "known to show no gender differences" • Johns and coauthors (2005) • providing a brief description of stereotype threat greatly reduced gender differences in math-test scores Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  32. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • In Depth: Stereotypes and Problem Solving Potential Explanations • arousal/anxiety and working memory • thought suppression reduces working memory capacity • interfere with the ability to construct problem-solving strategies Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  33. Stereotypes and Problem-Solving Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  34. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • Insight Versus Noninsight Problems • insight problem—seems impossible until sudden solution appears • noninsight problem—gradual solution • The Nature of Insight • gestalt psychologists vs. behaviorists • begin with inappropriate assumptions that need to be discarded • incubation Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  35. Factors That Influence Problem Solving • Insight Versus Noninsight Problems • Metacognition During Problem Solving • Janet Metcalfe (1986)—people's confidence builds gradually for noninsight problems, but shows a sudden leap in solving insight problems • "feeling-of-warmth" scale • considering previous similar problems as well as the possibility that a different approach might be required • thinking "outside the box" Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  36. Metacognition During Problem-Solving Figure 11.4 “Warmth Ratings” for Answers That Were Correct, as a Function of Time of Rating Prior to Answering. Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  37. Creativity • similarities to and differences from other forms of problem solving • Definitions • novelty, originality • need to reach some goal • useful and appropriate • creativity—finding solutions that are novel, high quality, and useful • ordinary vs. exceptional thinking Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  38. Creativity • Approaches to Creativity Divergent Production • measure creativity in terms of the number of different responses made • moderate correlations between divergent production and other judgments of creativity Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  39. Creativity • Approaches to Creativity • Investment Theory of Creativity • "buy low and sell high” • produce a creative idea when no one else is interested, then once the idea is popular, move on to a new creative project Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  40. Creativity • Approaches to Creativity • Investment Theory of Creativity (continued) • Characteristics of “Wise Creative Investors” • intelligence • knowledge • motivation • encouraging environment • appropriate thinking style • appropriate personality Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  41. Creativity • Task Motivation and Creativity • curiosity • intrinsic motivation—desire to work on a task for its own sake • extrinsic motivation—desire to work on a task to earn a promised reward • The Relationship Between Intrinsic Motivation and Creativity • people are most likely to be creative when they are working on a task that they truly enjoy Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  42. Creativity • Task Motivation and Creativity The Relationship Between Extrinsic Motivation and Creativity • students tend to produce less creative projects if they are working on these projects for external reasons • extrinsic motivation reduces creativity when it controls you or limits your options • extrinsic factors that provide useful information can enhance creativity Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  43. Algorithms vs Experts - Stereotypes and Problem-Solving • U.S. Navy Air Threat Assessment – Liebhaber & Feher, 2002 Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  44. Algorithms vs Experts - Stereotypes and Problem-Solving • Information to Consider • Origin 10. Coordinated • IFF mode 11. Maneuvers • Intelligence 12. Wings clean • Airlane 13. Range • Altitude 14. Course • ES 15. Own Support • Speed 16. Visibility • CPA 17. Weapon envelope • Feet wet Algorithm - Weigh all of the data. Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11

  45. Algorithms vs Experts - Stereotypes and Problem-Solving • What Experts Consider • Origin • IFF Mode • Intelligence • Altitude • Airlane • ES Heuristic - Evaluate “important” data. Experts have schemas for types of aircraft they are likely to encounter. Very efficient and effective, but prone to many biases. See Ch. 12. Cognition 7e, Margaret Matlin Chapter 11