Complex Problem Solving: The European Perspective by Peter A. Frensch, Joachim Funke

By Peter A. Frensch, Joachim Funke

This quantity provides a state-of-the-science overview of the main promising present eu examine -- and its historical roots of study -- on complicated challenge fixing (CPS) in Europe. it truly is an try and shut the information hole between American students concerning the ecu method of figuring out CPS. even though many of the American researchers are good conscious of the truth that CPS has been a truly energetic study zone in Europe for really it slow, they don't know any specifics approximately even crucial learn. a part of the cause of this lack of expertise is absolutely the truth that eu researchers -- for the main half -- were fairly reluctant to submit their paintings in English-language journals.

The publication concentrates on eu study as the uncomplicated strategy ecu students have taken to learning CPS is especially diverse from one taken through North American researchers. normally, American students were learning CPS in "natural" domain names -- physics, studying, writing, and chess enjoying -- concentrating totally on exploring novice-expert changes and the purchase of a posh ability. ecu students, by contrast, were essentially considering challenge fixing habit in artificially generated, quite often automated, complicated structures. whereas the yankee process has the benefit of excessive exterior validity, the eu technique has the benefit of method variables that may be systematically manipulated to bare the consequences of process parameters on CPS habit. the 2 methods are hence top considered as complementing one another.

This quantity includes contributions from 4 eu international locations -- Sweden, Switzerland, nice Britain, and Germany. As such, it properly represents the majority of empirical examine on CPS which has been carried out in Europe. a global cooperation began years in the past with the target of bringing the eu examine on advanced challenge fixing to the notice of yankee students. a right away results of that attempt, the contributions to this e-book are either informative and comprehensive.

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Problems, then, can be distinguished on any number of meaningful dimensions, and the solution processes, the mental steps we engage in when solving a problem, may differ widely for different types of problems. Given the multidimensionality of a problem, it may not come as a surprise to discover that different researchers, all claiming to study the phenomenon of problem solving, have on more than one occasion wholeheartedly disagreed with each other’s conclusions. For example, many of those studying expert problem solving have maintained that experts typically use a forward-working (from the givens to the goal) approach to problem solving, whereas others have argued that experts work backward (from the goal to the givens).

In fact, many, often computerized, tasks exist for which—due to the complex nonlinear relations among the task variables—the optimal solution is unknown. Of course, the absence of an optimal solution, while theoretically reasonable and even desirable, poses a problem to experimenters who want to determine the quality of subjects’ performances, and to those who use microworlds for personnel selection purposes (see U. Funke, this volume). Finally, because both the given state and goal state and also the barriers are intransparent in CPS, it is difficult for a solver to evaluate his or her progress toward problem solution.

Whether or not a definition meets its purpose is directly related, for example, to how clearly the definition distinguishes between aspects that are to be included and those that are to be excluded. In this regard, the better defined the boundaries of a term, that is, the less fuzzy the boundaries, the better a definition meets its purpose. For example, Anderson’s (1980) definition of problem solving contains clearer boundaries than Wheatley’s (1984) definition. Therefore, Anderson’s definition is a better definition than Wheatley’s if one applies the purpose criterion.

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