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Fleischer, Pierson; Hélie, Sébastien; Pizlo, Zygmunt – Journal of Problem Solving, 2018

Gestalt psychologists pointed out about 100 years ago that a key to solving difficult insight problems is to change the mental representation of the problem, as is the case, for example, with solving the six matches problem in 2D vs. 3D space. In this study we ask a different question, namely what representation is used when subjects solve search,…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematics, Geometric Concepts, Mathematical Applications

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

MacGregor, James N. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2013

Most models of human performance on the traveling salesperson problem involve clustering of nodes, but few empirical studies have examined effects of clustering in the stimulus array. A recent exception varied degree of clustering and concluded that the more clustered a stimulus array, the easier a TSP is to solve (Dry, Preiss, & Wagemans,…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Task Analysis, Testing, College Students

MacGregor, James N. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2012

A complete, non-trivial, traveling sales tour problem contains at least one "indentation", where nodes in the interior of the point set are connected between two adjacent nodes on the boundary. Early research reported that human tours exhibited fewer such indentations than expected. A subsequent explanation proposed that this was because…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematical Applications, Graphs, Foreign Countries

Dry, Matthew J.; Preiss, Kym; Wagemans, Johan – Journal of Problem Solving, 2012

We investigated human performance on the Euclidean Traveling Salesperson Problem (TSP) and Euclidean Minimum Spanning Tree Problem (MST-P) in regards to a factor that has previously received little attention within the literature: the spatial distributions of TSP and MST-P stimuli. First, we describe a method for quantifying the relative degree of…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematical Applications, Graphs, Performance

MacGregor, James N.; Chu, Yun – Journal of Problem Solving, 2011

The article provides a review of recent research on human performance on the traveling salesman problem (TSP) and related combinatorial optimization problems. We discuss what combinatorial optimization problems are, why they are important, and why they may be of interest to cognitive scientists. We next describe the main characteristics of human…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematical Applications, Graphs, Performance

Haxhimusa, Yll; Carpenter, Edward; Catrambone, Joseph; Foldes, David; Stefanov, Emil; Arns, Laura; Pizlo, Zygmunt – Journal of Problem Solving, 2011

When a two-dimensional (2D) traveling salesman problem (TSP) is presented on a computer screen, human subjects can produce near-optimal tours in linear time. In this study we tested human performance on a real and virtual floor, as well as in a three-dimensional (3D) virtual space. Human performance on the real floor is as good as that on a…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematical Applications, Graphs, Visual Aids

Walwyn, Amy L.; Navarro, Daniel J. – Journal of Problem Solving, 2010

An experiment is reported comparing human performance on two kinds of visually presented traveling salesperson problems (TSPs), those reliant on Euclidean geometry and those reliant on city block geometry. Across multiple array sizes, human performance was near-optimal in both geometries, but was slightly better in the Euclidean format. Even so,…

Descriptors: Problem Solving, Mathematical Applications, Graphs, Geometry