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One of these was called the Einstellung effect, now more commonly referred to as .
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.
Behaviourist researchers argued that problem solving was a process; that is, organisms faced with a problem applied behaviour that had been successful on a previous occasion.
Successful behaviour was itself believed to have been arrived at through a process of trial-and-error.
At no point on either side of the river can orcs outnumber hobbits (or the orcs would eat the outnumbered hobbits).
The problem, then, is to find a method of transporting all six creatures across the river without the hobbits ever being outnumbered.
A problem arises when we need to overcome some obstacle in order to get from our current state to a desired state.
Problem solving is the process that an organism implements in order to try to get from the current state to the desired state.
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.