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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

Blokpoel, Mark; Wareham, Todd; Haselager, Pim; Toni, Ivan; van Rooij, Iris – Journal of Problem Solving, 2018

The ability to generate novel hypotheses is an important problem-solving capacity of humans. This ability is vital for making sense of the complex and unfamiliar world we live in. Often, this capacity is characterized as an inference to the best explanation--selecting the "best" explanation from a given set of candidate hypotheses.…

Descriptors: Hypothesis Testing, Logical Thinking, Inferences, Computation

Wareham, Todd – Journal of Problem Solving, 2017

In human problem solving, there is a wide variation between individuals in problem solution time and success rate, regardless of whether or not this problem solving involves insight. In this paper, we apply computational and parameterized analysis to a plausible formalization of extended representation change theory (eRCT), an integration of…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Schemata (Cognition), Intuition, Computation

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)

Jarosz, Andrew F.; Wiley, Jennifer – Journal of Problem Solving, 2014

The purpose of this paper is to provide an easy template for the inclusion of the Bayes factor in reporting experimental results, particularly as a recommendation for articles in the "Journal of Problem Solving." The Bayes factor provides information with a similar purpose to the "p"-value--to allow the researcher to make…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Bayesian Statistics, Statistical Inference, Computation

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

Carruthers, Sarah; Stege, Ulrike – Journal of Problem Solving, 2013

This article is concerned with how computer science, and more exactly computational complexity theory, can inform cognitive science. In particular, we suggest factors to be taken into account when investigating how people deal with computational hardness. This discussion will address the two upper levels of Marr's Level Theory: the computational…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Computation, Difficulty Level, Computer Science

Pizlo, Zygmunt; Stefanov, Emil – Journal of Problem Solving, 2013

We describe an important elaboration of our multiscale/multiresolution model for solving the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). Our previous model emulated the non-uniform distribution of receptors on the human retina and the shifts of visual attention. This model produced near-optimal solutions of TSP in linear time by performing hierarchical…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Short Term Memory, Models, Visual Perception

Kwisthout, Johan – Journal of Problem Solving, 2012

When computer scientists discuss the computational complexity of, for example, finding the shortest path from building A to building B in some town or city, their starting point typically is a formal description of the problem at hand, e.g., a graph with weights on every edge where buildings correspond to vertices, routes between buildings to…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Computation, Abstract Reasoning, Difficulty Level

Batchelder, William H.; Alexander, Gregory E. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2012

This paper provides a critical examination of the current state and future possibility of formal cognitive theory for insight problem solving and its associated "aha!" experience. Insight problems are contrasted with move problems, which have been formally defined and studied extensively by cognitive psychologists since the pioneering…

Descriptors: Intuition, Problem Solving, Cognitive Processes, Theories

Carruthers, Sarah; Masson, Michael E. J.; Stege, Ulrike – Journal of Problem Solving, 2012

Recent studies on a computationally hard visual optimization problem, the Traveling Salesperson Problem (TSP), indicate that humans are capable of finding close to optimal solutions in near-linear time. The current study is a preliminary step in investigating human performance on another hard problem, the Minimum Vertex Cover Problem, in which…

Descriptors: Performance, Problem Solving, Graphs, Mathematics

Wareham, Todd; Evans, Patricia; van Rooij, Iris – Journal of Problem Solving, 2011

Solving new problems can be made easier if one can build on experiences with other problems one has already successfully solved. The ability to exploit earlier problem-solving experiences in solving new problems seems to require several cognitive sub-abilities. Minimally, one needs to be able to retrieve relevant knowledge of earlier solved…

Descriptors: Logical Thinking, Problem Solving, Difficulty Level, Computation

Hemmati, Mehdi; Smith, J. Cole – Journal of Problem Solving, 2011

We consider a version of an optimal stopping problem, in which a customer is presented with a finite set of items, one by one. The customer is aware of the number of items in the finite set and the minimum and maximum possible value of each item, and must purchase exactly one item. When an item is presented to the customer, she or he observes its…

Descriptors: Consumer Economics, Problem Solving, Decision Making, Purchasing

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