Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Cogn Sci
Impact Factor: 1.413

Neural basis of thinking: laboratory problems versus real‐world problems

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

Cognitive psychologists have long argued about the reality and significance of the distinction between well‐structured and ill‐structured problems. Laboratory problems are usually well‐structured, whereas real‐world problems have both well‐structured and ill‐structured components. This article shows how the neuropsychological data reinforce this distinction and suggests how this distinction may help to explain a puzzle about discontinuous performance of some neurological patients in laboratory and real‐world problem situations. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Figure 1.

The problem space is a computational work arena shaped by the dual constraints, of the structure of the information processing system and the structure of the task environment. It is specified in terms of state space, operators, evaluation functions, and control strategies. See Ref 3 for the classic discussion of each of these components. See Ref 4 for a particularly clear discussion of the meta‐theoretical constraints. See Ref 5 for discussion of meta‐theoretical constraints, structure of task environments, and their consequences for the structure of the problem space.

[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Figure 2.

The Tower of Hanoi Puzzle consists of three pegs and several disks of varying size. Given a start state, in which the disks are stacked on one or more pegs, the task is to reach a goal state in which the disks are stacked in descending order on a specified peg. There are three constraints on the transformation of the start state into the goal state. (1) Only one disk may be moved at a time. (2) Any disk not being currently moved must remain on the pegs. (3) A larger disk may not be placed on a smaller disk.

[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Figure 3.

Aspects of real‐world problem solving. Unlike the state space for well‐structured problems, the state space for ill‐structured real‐world problems must support different problem‐solving phases, which need to be supported by different representational systems, cognitive processes, and computational mechanisms physical symbol systems (PSS). See Ref 5 for further discussion.

[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Browse by Topic

Neuroscience > Cognition
Psychology > Reasoning and Decision Making
blog comments powered by Disqus

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts

Twitter: WBPsychology Follow us on Twitter

    Wiley author @jane1Ogden is speaking at the Wells Festival of Literature on October 16th, get your tickets here http://t.co/5c8KE5Sse9