The effects of solution feedback, strategy efficiency, and interruption of problem solving activity on einstellung

Dingley, H. Louis (Harry Louis) (1983) The effects of solution feedback, strategy efficiency, and interruption of problem solving activity on einstellung. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The present study was designed to investigate the effects of solution feedback and interrupting problem solving activity on breaking set. Individual differences analyses indicated that subjects who used an efficient problem solving strategy were likey to break set. Twelve concept attainment problems were given to an equal number of male and female university students. The solution to Problems 1 to 5 (the preliminary problems) was specified by a conjunctive rule, while the solution to the last seven problems (the critical problems) was specified by a single attribute rule. Each problem consisted of five blank trial sequences that began with the presentation of a positive example followed by five response probes. Subjects were informed at the end of a blank trial sequence whether their responses to the five probes were correct or that one or more were incorrect. Half of the subjects were told the solution at the end of each problem (complete feedback), while the rest of the subjects were told the solution following the first three problems only (partial feedback). Subjects worked continuously through all problems, or at the end of Problem 6 received a 15 minute interruption filled with a task either related or unrelated to the concept attainment problems. From exposure to solution feedback, all subjects developed a set to sample conjunctive hypotheses by Problem 3. Partial feedback subjects continued to sample conjunctive hypotheses up to the end of Problem 12, while complete feedback subjects broke the conjunctive set by Problem 8. The interruptions had marginal and inconsistent effects on set breaking which were apparently superseded by problem solving efficiency. Subjects were classified as efficient or inefficient problem solvers based on their ability to solve the preliminary problems. Efficient problem solvers broke set faster than inefficient problem solvers, whether or not solution feedback was provided. Einstellung was suggested to be related to strategy efficiency which determines the rate of exhaustion of the conjunctive hypothesis domain.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 5845
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 51-52.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 1983
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Problem solving

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