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ERIC Number: EJ835213
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1598-1037
The Effects of Informational Complexity and Working Memory on Problem-Solving Efficiency
Hoffman, Bobby; McCrudden, Matthew T.; Schraw, Gregory; Hartley, Kendall
Asia Pacific Education Review, v9 n4 p464-474 2008
This study investigated the influence of informational complexity and working memory capacity on problem-solving efficiency. We examined two predictions of the "situational efficiency hypothesis," which states that the efficiency of problem solving varies as a function of situational constraints. One prediction is that informational complexity affects problem-solving efficiency. A second prediction is that working memory capacity affects problem-solving efficiency. Students completed a working memory task and solved abstract and concrete syllogisms. Participants solved abstract syllogisms more accurately than concrete syllogisms and spent more time solving abstract syllogisms. Thus participants demonstrated greater problem-solving efficiency when solving concrete syllogisms. Results indicate that there is a trade-off between problem-solving accuracy and problem-solving time when information differs with respect to informational complexity, a phenomenon we refer to as the efficiency paradox. Working memory capacity did not affect accuracy or efficiency. The results support the conclusion that problem-solving efficiency is situational and a function of the complexity of information. Educational implications and directions for future research are suggested. (Contains 3 tables.)
Education Research Institute, Seoul National University. Department of Education, 599 Kwanak-Ro, Kwanak-Gu, Seoul 151-748, South Korea. Tel: +82-2-880-5896; Fax: +82-2-889-6508; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A