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In 1911 Edward Thorndike had developed his law of effect after observing cats discover how to escape from the cage into which he had placed them.This greatly influenced the behaviourist view of problem solving: process.
In 1957 Newell and Simon developed the General Problem Solver, a computer program that used means-ends analysis to find solutions to a range of - problems that have clear paths (if not easy ones) to a goal state.
In their 1972 book on problem solving they reported the verbal protocols of participants engaged in problem solving, which showed a close match between the steps that they took and those taken by the General Problem Solver.
These practice problems could be solved by filling Jug B, then tipping water from Jug B into Jug A until it is filled, and then twice using the remainging contents of Jug A to fill Jug C. However, although this formula could be applied to the subsequent "critical" problems, these also had simpler solutions, such as A - C.
People who had experienced the practice problems mostly tried to apply the more complex solution to these later problems, unlike people who had not experienced the earlier problems (who mostly found the simpler solutions).
In particular, in the process of thinking about a problem individuals sometimes "restructured" their representation of the problem, leading to a flash of insight that enabled them to reach a solution.
In (1915) Wolfgang Köhler described a series of studies with apes in which the animals appeared to demonstrate insight in problem solving situations.Luchins (1942) reported a study in which people had to use three jugs of differing capacity (measured in cups) to measure out a required amount of water (given by the experimenter).Some people were given a series of "practice" trials prior to attempting the critical problems.Give yourself the knowledge boost your need to excel on an assignment, project or test that covers problem solving and creativity in psychology.This chapter is filled with entertaining lessons, mini quizzes and other resources you can access anytime in our secure online environment.A description of these studies, with photographs, can be found here.The Gestalt psychologists described several aspects of thought that acted as barriers to successful problem solving.What did Maier do that led some people to get the correct solution? However, problem spaces can be very large so the key issue is how people navigate their way through the possibilities, given their limited working memory capacities. For many problems we possess domain knowledge that helps us decide what to do.But for novel problems Newell and Simon proposed that operator selection is guided by cognitive short-cuts, known as heuristics.One of these was called the Einstellung effect, now more commonly referred to as .This occurs when a problem solver becomes fixated on applying a strategy that has previously worked, but is less helpful for the current problem.