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Problem solving is an integral part of everyday life yet few books are dedicated to this important aspect of human cognition. In each case, the problem, such as solving a crossword or writing an essay, has a goal. In this comprehensive and timely textbook, the author discusses the psychological processes underlying such goal-directed problem solving, and examines both how we learn from experience of problem solving and how our learning transfers (or often fails to transfer) from one situation to another. Following initial coverage of the methods we use to solve unfamiliar problems, the book goes on to examine the psychological processes involved in novice problem solving before progressing to the methods and processes used by skilled problem solvers or "experts". Topics covered include: how we generate a useful representation of a problem as a starting point; general problem solving strategies we use in unfamiliar situations; possible processes involved in insight or lateral thinking; the nature of problem similarity and the role of analogies in problem solving; understanding and learning from textbooks; and how we develop expertise through the learning of specific problem solving skills.
Clear, up-to-date and accessible, Problem Solving will be of interest to undergraduates and postgraduates in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and educational psychology. The focus on the practical transfer of learning through problem solving will also make it of relevance to educationalists and business psychologists.
- Taylor and Francis, September 2003
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