# Ch 12: Problem Solving

## Unlock all answers in this set

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Analogical encoding
A technique in which people compare two problems that illustrate a principle. This technique is designed to help people discover similar structural features of cases or problems.
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People find it difficult to apply analogies in laboratory settings, but routinely use them in real-world settings.
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Analogical problem solving
The use of analogies as an aid to solving problems. Typically, a solution to one problem, the source problem, is presented that is analogous to the solution to another problem, the target problem.
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aha! experience
at one point they don't have the answer, and the next minute they have solved the problem
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Analogical transfer
Transferring experience in solving one problem to the solution of another, similar problem.
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Gick and Holyoak analogue experiment results
Noticing that there is an analogous relationship between the source problem and the target problem. Mapping the correspondence between the source story and the target problem Applying the mapping to generate a parallel solution to the target problem
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Analogy
Making a comparison in order to show a similarity between two different things.
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Candle problem
A problem, first described by Duncker, in which a person is given a number of objects and is given the task of mounting a candle on a wall so it can burn without dripping wax on the floor. This problem was used to study functional fixedness.
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Creative cognition
A technique developed by Finke to train people to think creatively.
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ATL deactivation
when their ATL was deactivated by transcranial magnetic stimulation, 40 percent of the subjects were able to solve the problem our brains are wired to interpret the world in certain ways, based on past experience
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Divergent thinking
Thinking that is open-ended, involving a large number of potential solutions.
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Expert
Person who, by devoting a large amount of time to learning about a field and practicing and applying that learning, has become acknowledged as being extremely skilled or knowledgeable in that field.
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Fixation
In problem solving, people's tendency to focus on a specific characteristic of the problem that keeps them from arriving at a solution.
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Functional fixedness
An effect that occurs when the ideas a person has about an object's function inhibit the person's ability to use the object for a different function.
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Goal state
In problem solving, the condition that occurs when a problem has been solved.
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Group brainstorming
When people in a problem-solving group are encouraged to express whatever ideas come to mind, without censorship.
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In vivo problem-solving research
Observing people to determine how they solve problems in real-world situations. This technique has been used to study the use of analogy in a number of different settings, including laboratory meetings of a university research group and design brainstorming sessions in an industrial research and development department.
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Initial state
In problem solving, the conditions at the beginning of a problem.
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Insight
Sudden realization of a problem's solution. (AHA!)f
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Intermediate states
In problem solving, the various conditions that exist along the pathways between the initial and goal states.
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Latent inhibition (LI)
Mechanism that results in screening out irrelevant stimuli.
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Meansend analysis
A problem-solving strategy that seeks to reduce the difference between the initial and goal states. This is achieved by creating subgoals, intermediate states that are closer to the goal.
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Mental set
A preconceived notion about how to approach a problem based on a person's experience or what has worked in the past.
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Mutilated checkerboard problem
A problem that has been used to study how the statement of a problem influences a person's ability to reach a solution.
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Operators
In problem solving, permissible moves that can be made toward a problem's solution.
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Preinventive forms
Objects created in Finke's "creative cognition" experiment that precede the creation of a finished creative product.
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Problem
A situation in which there is an obstacle between a present state and a goal state and it is not immediately obvious how to get around the obstacle.
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Problem space
The initial state, goal state, and all the possible intermediate states for a particular problem.
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A problem posed by Duncker that involves finding a way to destroy a tumor by radiation without damaging other organs in the body. This problem has been widely used to study the role of analogy in problem solving.
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Restructuring
The process of changing a problem's representation. According to the Gestalt psychologists, this is the key mechanism of problem solving.
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Gestalt approach to problem solving
how people represent a problem in their mind and how solving a problem involves a reorganization or restructuring of this representation. restructuring, insight
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Savant syndrome
Occurs in people with autism or other mental disorders, who can achieve extraordinary feats of memory or may have great artistic talent or mathematical ability.
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Source problem
A problem or story that is analogous to the target problem and which therefore provides information that can lead to a solution to the target problem. See also Analogical problem solving; Target problem.
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Structural features (problem solving)
The underlying principle that governs the solution to a problem--for example, in the radiation problem, needing high intensity to fix something surrounded by material that could be damaged by high intensity. Contrast with Surface features.
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Subgoals
In the meansend analysis approach to problem solving, intermediate states that move the process of solution closer to the goal.
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Surface features
Specific elements that make up a problem. For example, in the radiation problem, the rays and the tumor are surface features. Contrast with Structural features.
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Target problem
A problem to be solved. In analogical problem solving, solution of this problem can become easier when the problem-solver is exposed to an analogous source problem or story. See also Source problem.
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Think-aloud protocol