Problem Solving Problem solving: overcoming some obstacles in order to answer a question or achieve a goal Four phases- Understanding- Generating hypotheses- Testing hypotheses- Checking results Strategies- Used in the generating hypotheses stage- Algorithm Algorithm: a mechanical repetitive procedure for solving a problem- Guarantee a correct solution to the problem- Heuristics Heuristics: strategies for solving a problem or for guiding an investigation- Narrow the range of options we have to consider when trying to solve a problem Types of Problems- Inducing Structure- Try and discover relations among parts of the problem- Transformation- Involve carrying out a sequence of transformations in order to reach a specific goal- Problems of arrangement- Involve arranging the parts of the problem in such a way that it satisfies some criterion- Often solved with a burst of insight Insight: the sudden discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts based primarily on trial and error- Insight Problems- Problem solution suddenly enters our mind- Immediately realize the solution to the problem is correct- Occurs suddenly- Novel approach to the problem has been taken- Novel interpretation of the problem has been made- Non-insight problem- Solve gradually- Using reasoning skills and a routine set of procedures- Metcalf & Wiebe (1987) - Insight problems- Algebra problems- "Warmth" ratings- Results- Algebra problems- Warmth ratings gradually grew until solution- Insight problems- No increase in warmth ratings until the person solved the problem in a flash of insight Barriers to Problem Solving- Involve assumptions affecting problem solving Fixation: an impediment to problem solving- Perceptual fixation- Involves perceptual (visual / spatial ) assumptions about the problem domain that blocks ability to reach a solution- Mental Set- Get stuck on a set of rules to solve the problem- Use them even when the set of rules will prevent the solution or there is an easier solution- Functional Fixation- Getting stuck on a particular use for an object.