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Generative Processes in Representations of Problems.
CALIFORNIA UNIV BERKELEY
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This project addressed the question What knowledge and processes enable individuals to construct and modify representations of novel, nonroutine problems The theoretical goal was to extend the information-processing theory of problem solving to include processes that have been characterized as restructuring of problems and productive thinking by Gestalt psychologists such as Duncker and Wertheimer. Three lines of research were carried out. One investigated different kinds of knowledge that result in problems that are routine, semiroutine, or nonroutine, according to distinctions in a simulation model that was developed in the project. Experiments distinguished between functional knowledge, involving relations between components of a device, and component knowledge, involving information about behavior of components independent of their interconnections. A second line of work studied processes of generating representations of physics problems, and identified important interactions between everyday experience-based knowledge about motions of objects and knowledge of theoretical principles. The third line of research studied processes of understanding and solution of back-of-the-envelope problems, and identified use of general methods for reasoning about quantities that are combined with domain-specific information. Author
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