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Date Created: 06/03/14
PSYCH 108 COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY Spring Quarter 2014 519 Problem Solving and Creativity Problem solving Usea when you want to reach a certain goal but the solution is not immediately obvious Two types o Well defined steps to solution are clearly circumscribed o Subtract 35 from 492 I Drive to Atlanta with good directions o Ill defined steps to solution are vague I Solve World hunger I Have an interesting career Three components o initial state 0 goal state 0 obstacles Representing the problem Paying Attention to Important Information o identify and attend to the most relevant information o Effective problem solvers read the description of a problem very carefully paying particular attention to inconsistencies Methods of Representing the Problem o Finding a way to characterize the elements of the problem that enable its effective solution Factors that in uence representation success o working memory capacity 0 Expertise Sources of error o Translating into symbols 0 Eight times as many cats as dogs 8XCD 8XDC Oversimplification The engines rate in still water is 12 miles per hour more than the rate of the current The engines rate in still Water is 12 miles per hour Methods of Representing the Problem Matrices Matrices MatriX grid showing all possible combinations of items Most useful for complex stable categorical information Methods of Representing the Problem Diagrams Diagrams o Represent abstract information in a concrete fashion o Reduce large amount of complicated information into a concrete form Examples o instructions for assembling objects I Origami more accurate with both a Verbal description and a step by step diagram rather than only a Verbal description Problem solving by analogy Use solved problem to solve new problem Analogy Superficial features are di erent but same at a deep level o Solar system and atom Analogies are missed unless people are given hints that they are related or multiple related stories People are too influenced by superficial similarities Factors Encouraging Appropriate Use of Analogies overcoming the influence of context trying several structurally similar problems before the target problem training to sort problems into categories based on structural similarities Meansend Analysis Heuristics o Strategies for choosing an operator to apply o Not guaranteed to be correct but generally helpful The MeansEnds Heuristic divide the problem into subproblems try to reduce the difference between the initial state and the goal state for each of the subproblems identify the quotendsquot you Want and then figure out the quotmeansquot to reach them one of the most effective and flexible problem solving strategies Hill climbing Choose the step that moves closest to the goal o Can get stuck in local maxima states that are closer to the goal than any neighboring states but still are not the goal o Leave local maxima by back tracking or adding randomness Backtracking Backtrack by taking back recent moves and applying new operators Factors That Influence Problem Solving Expertise o consistent exceptional skill and performance on representative tasks for a particular area not necessarily related to years of experience Experts have developed topdown processes that allow them to perform well on many dijferent components of problem solving in their particular area o Expertise in one area does not necessarily transfer to other areas Memory o Memory skills of experts tend to be very specific o Chess experts memory is better only if the information fits a particular schema ProblemSolving Strategies o Experts are more likely to use the means ends heuristic effectively on a novel problem Speed and Accuracy o problem solving operations become more automatic Metacognitive Skills Experts are better than novices at monitoring their own problem solving Experts also better at judging the difficulty of the problem allocating time monitoring the usefulness of ideas recovering from errors Experts underestimate the amount of time novices will require to solve a problem in the experts area of specialization Factors That Influence Problem Solving mental set Mental Set o using the same solution from previous problems even though the problem could be solved by a different easier method o close mind prematurely stop thinking o overactive top doWn processing Factors That Influence Problem Solving Functional F ixedness o assign stable uses to an object o fail to think about the features of the object that might be useful in helping solve a problem o overactive top doWn processing 521 Insight Versus NonInsight Problems Noninsight problem gradual solutions Insight problem seems impossible until sudden solution appears light bulb quotahaquot Examples Insight o A dealer in antique coins got an offer to buy a beautiful bronze coin The coin had an emperors head on one side and the date 544 BC stamped on the other The dealer examined the coin but instead of buying it he called the police Why NonInsight o The police were convinced that either ABC or D had committed a crime Each of the suspects in turn made a statement but only one of the four statements was true Who is telling the true and who committed the crime I A said I didn t do it I B said A is lying I C said B is lying I D said B did it B is telling the truth A committed the crime Differences between insight and non insight problem solving Metacognition During Problem Solving o Participants asked to periodically provide Warmth ratings as they solved insight and non insight problems Results o Warmth ratings grow as solution approaches for non insight problems o No increase in warmth ratings for insight problems Demonstrates solution for non insight problems is gradual but sudden for insight problems Relationship between insight problem solving and recognizing out of focus picture o Schooler et al 1996 Differences Between Insight and NonInsight Problems o Relationship between insight problem solving and recognizing out of focus picture 0 Schooler et al 1996 Correlation between out of focus picture identification and insight picture solving 45 Non insight problem solving 0 Differences between insight and non insight problem solving Thinking aloud impairs insight but not non insight problem solving Schooler Ohlsson amp Brooks 1993 Enhancing insight by stepping back Basic premise o Stepping back to gain perspective enhances insight problem solving Evidence o Right hemisphere processes associated with courser coding Implications of RH coarse coding for insight Right hemisphere takes a stepping back bigger picture perspective May be associated with greater sensitivity to insight solutions Evidence o Fiore and Schooler Gave participants insight problem Presented solutions to right or left visual field Gave problem again Evidence for RH involvement insight problem solving Evidence o Fiore and Schooler Gave participants insight problem Presented solutions to right or left visual field Gave problem again Kounios and Beeman o Measured eeg activity during insight solution o Increased right temporal lobe gamma activation Other techniques for encouraging stepping back Physical distance o insight problems thought to be composed in a distant research institute were solved more accurately than when the same problems were thought to be composed in a nearby institute Temporal distance o Imagine yourself a year from now Distal versus tomorrow proximal B Effect on insight problem solving Creativity De nition nding solutions that are novel and useful Psychologists disagree as to Whether creativity involves ordinary thinking or exceptional people Two Types of Creativity Divergent Many possible solutions o Unusual uses test I Name as many uses for a brick as you can think of Build a house Grind up and use for make up Convergent a single solution o Remote associates Three components of creativity Creativity Thinking Skills How exibly and imaginatively people approach problems Expertise knowledgetechnical procedural intellectual Motivation Intrinsic and Extrinsic Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation extrinsic motivation desire to work on a task to earn a promised reward o People often produce less creative projects if they are Working on these projects for external reasons o intrinsic motivation motivation to work on a task for its own sake because you find it interesting exciting or personally challenging o People are more likely to be creative when they are Working on a task that they truly enjoy 0 high intrinsic motivation related to judged creativity of projects Framing and intrinsic motivation Writers responded to a questionnaire that asked why they liked to write o Framed either with respect to o Intrinsic motivation I like to express myself I enjoy exploring a topic Extrinsic motivation I like the respect it earns me It helps to pay the bills Wrote an example of creative writing Judged by writers intrinsic motivation questionnaire fostered superior writing samples Other factors that affect creativity Entrenchment Exposure to others thoughts similarly constrains creativity Smith and Blakenship Mental sets for design of a spillness cup reduces alternatives Other factors that affect creativity Group brainstorming Brainstorming In general nominal groups out perform real groups in creative performance o Nominal group same number of participants as group but Working alone I F iore amp Schooler 2002 Generate as many Words as you can from the following letters D E S A T DESATGINLOGR Actual groups generated fewer letter rearrangements than nominal groups B Difference particularly profound for large problem spaces o More letters Does mindwandering enhance creativity Evidence o Anecdotal I Numerous historical examples of creative ideas occurring during mind Wandering Poincare and Fuchsian functions Poincare The crucial idea came to him as he was about to get onto a bus as he relates in Science and Method 1 908 At the moment when I put my foot on the step the idea came to me without anything in my former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it that the transformation that I had used to define the F uchsian functions were identical with those of noneuclidean geometry Mullis and DNA replication One Friday night in April 1983 while driving to his weekend cabin Mullis has recorded it suddenly struck him that there was a method of producing unlimited copies of DNA fragments simply and in vitro i e outside living cells Townes invention of the laser The idea for the laser beam dawned upon the physicist Charles Townes while he was sitting on a park bench in Washington DC admiring the azaleas He suddenly realized how light could be configured into a very pure form Central question Does mindwandering enhance creativity Experimental Evidence Baird et al Incubation study o Unusual uses test o Incubation intervals that include Undemanding associated with mind wandering Demanding task No task No break o Unusual uses test again Online Realtime Journal Study of Creative Scientists and Writers Gable et al in preparation 45 physicists and 53 writers completed a daily creativity journal for two weeks Physicists o participants in a highly selective Workshop Writers o Members of the Writers guild o common occupation screen Writers novelists nonfiction Writers Daily reports of creative ideas o When they occurred mind wandering or working on problem D Quality of idea Creativity Aha Overcoming an impasse Conclusions from creativity journal study Approximately a third of creative ideas occurred when individuals were mind wandering Compared to on task ideas ideas during mind wandering were o Comparably creative o Associated with more of an aha experience o More likely to involve overcoming an impasse Suggests mind wandering may be an important part of the creative process and especially important for incubation insight and breaking impasses Big picture conclusions about problem solving Problem solving critically depends on e ectively representing the problem Sometimes reaching a goal requires temporarily moving further away from it Problem solving often requires overcoming a mental set which can produce the experience of a sudden insight Insight problem solving is di erent from more gradual problem solving Creativity is also susceptible to mental sets Creativity can be enhanced by incubation periods that enable mindwandering
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