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Carruthers, Sarah; Stege, Ulrike; Masson, Michael E. J. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2018

The role that the mental, or internal, representation plays when people are solving hard computational problems has largely been overlooked to date, despite the reality that this internal representation drives problem solving. In this work we investigate how performance on versions of two hard computational problems differs based on what internal…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Goal Orientation, Computation, Difficulty Level

MacGregor, James N. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2017

The article reports three experiments designed to explore heuristics used in comparing the lengths of completed Euclidean Traveling Salesman Problem (E-TSP) tours. The experiments used paired comparisons in which participants judged which of two completed tours of the same point set was shorter. The first experiment manipulated two factors, the…

Descriptors: College Students, Heuristics, Problem Solving, Mathematical Applications

Hattikudur, Shanta; Sidney, Pooja G.; Alibali, Martha W. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2016

Students benefit from learning multiple procedures for solving the same or related problems. However, past research on comparison instruction has focused on comparing multiple formal procedures. This study investigated whether the benefits of comparing procedures extend to comparisons that involve informal and formal procedures. We also examined…

Descriptors: Mathematics Education, Problem Solving, Student Attitudes, Mathematics Skills

Mielicki, Marta K.; Wiley, Jennifer – Journal of Problem Solving, 2016

Successful algebraic problem solving entails adaptability of solution methods using different representations. Prior research has suggested that students are more likely to prefer symbolic solution methods (equations) over graphical ones, even when graphical methods should be more efficient. However, this research has not tested how representation…

Descriptors: Algebra, Problem Solving, Graphs, Equations (Mathematics)

Chan, Joel; Nokes-Malach, Timothy J. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2016

People often use spatial metaphors (e.g., think "laterally," "outside the box") to describe exploration of the problem space during creative problem solving. In this paper, we probe the potential cognitive underpinnings of these spatial metaphors. Drawing on theories of situative cognition, semantic foraging theory, and…

Descriptors: Creativity, Physical Environment, Novelty (Stimulus Dimension), Creative Thinking

Danek, Amory H.; Wiley, Jennifer; Öllinger, Michael – Journal of Problem Solving, 2016

Insightful problem solving is a vital part of human thinking, yet very difficult to grasp. Traditionally, insight has been investigated by using a set of established "insight tasks," assuming that insight has taken place if these problems are solved. Instead of assuming that insight takes place during every solution of the 9 Dot, 8 Coin,…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Arithmetic, Intuition, Hypothesis Testing

Goel, Vinod; Eimontaite, Iveta; Goel, Amit; Schindler, Igor – Journal of Problem Solving, 2015

While both insight and divergent thinking tasks are used to study creativity, there are reasons to believe that the two may call upon very different mechanisms. To explore this hypothesis, we administered a verbal insight task (riddles) and a divergent thinking task (verbal fluency) to 16 native English speakers and 16 non-native English speakers…

Descriptors: Stimulation, Creativity, Intuition, Creative Thinking

Tenbrink, Thora; Taylor, Holly A. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2015

Research on problem solving typically does not address tasks that involve following detailed and/or illustrated step-by-step instructions. Such tasks are not seen as cognitively challenging problems to be solved. In this paper, we challenge this assumption by analyzing verbal protocols collected during an Origami folding task. Participants…

Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Problem Solving, Protocol Analysis, Task Analysis

Mueller, Shane T.; Perelman, Brandon S.; Tan, Yin Yin; Thanasuan, Kejkaew – Journal of Problem Solving, 2015

The traveling salesman problem (TSP) is a combinatorial optimization problem that requires finding the shortest path through a set of points ("cities") that returns to the starting point. Because humans provide heuristic near-optimal solutions to Euclidean versions of the problem, it has sometimes been used to investigate human visual…

Descriptors: Sales Occupations, Salesmanship, Computer System Design, Computer Software Reviews

Van Stockum, Charles A., Jr.; DeCaro, Marci S. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2014

Individual differences in working memory capacity (WMC) increase the ability and tendency to devote greater attentional control to a task--improving performance on a wide range of skills. In addition, recent research on enclothed cognition demonstrates that the situational influence of wearing a white lab coat increases controlled attention, due…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Short Term Memory, Attention Control, Intuition

Wieth, Mareike B.; Burns, Bruce D. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2014

Research has consistently shown negative effects of multitasking on tasks such as problem solving. This study was designed to investigate the impact of an incentive when solving problems in a multitasking situation. Incentives have generally been shown to increase problem solving (e.g., Wieth & Burns, 2006), however, it is unclear whether an…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Time Management, Executive Function, Incentives

Ricks, Travis Rex; Wiley, Jennifer – Journal of Problem Solving, 2014

Does having more knowledge or interest in the topics used in example problems facilitate or hinder learning in statistics? Undergraduates enrolled in Introductory Psychology received a lesson on central tendency. Following the lesson, half of the students completed a worksheet with a baseball cover story while the other half received a weather…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Undergraduate Students, Statistics, Psychology

MacGregor, James N. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2014

Previous studies have shown that people start traveling sales problem tours significantly more often from boundary than from interior nodes. There are a number of possible reasons for such a tendency: first, it may arise as a direct result of the processes involved in tour construction; second, boundary points may be perceptually more salient than…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Performance, Preferences, Geographic Location

Dry, Matthew J.; Fontaine, Elizabeth L. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2014

The Traveling Salesperson Problem (TSP) is a computationally difficult combinatorial optimization problem. In spite of its relative difficulty, human solvers are able to generate close-to-optimal solutions in a close-to-linear time frame, and it has been suggested that this is due to the visual system's inherent sensitivity to certain geometric…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Geographic Location, Computation, Visual Stimuli

Chesney, Dana L.; McNeil, Nicole M. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2014

Many children in the U.S. initially come to understand the equal sign operationally, as a symbol meaning "add up the numbers" rather than relationally, as an indication that the two sides of an equation share a common value. According to a change-resistance account (McNeil & Alibali, 2005b), children's operational ways of thinking…

Descriptors: Thinking Skills, Arithmetic, Undergraduate Students, Interference (Learning)