Research on problem solving highlighted in APS Observer

Recent research on problem solving strategies by Louis Lee and Phil Johnson-Laird was highlighted in the APS Observer.

The paper that the Observer referenced is available here, and here’s it’s abstract:

One way to study how individuals reason to solve problems is to see how they develop strategies to solve a series of related problems. This paper accordingly presents a theory explaining how they do so: When individuals solve a series of problems, their initial moves are constrained solely by perceptual and cognitive characteristics of the problems. They deduce the consequences of tactical moves, whether or not these moves are successful in advancing them towards a solution. As they master these tactics, however, a strategic shift occurs. The deduced knowledge comes to constrain the generation of moves, through the discovery of global constraints. Three experiments investigating a series of ‘‘matchstick’’ problems corroborated the theory.