Problem solving is an integral part of everyday life yet few books are dedicated to this important aspect of human cognition. In each case, the problem, such as solving a crossword or writing an essay, has a goal. In this comprehensive and timely textbook, the author discusses the psychological processes underlying such goal-oriented problem solving and examines how we learn from experience of solving problems and how our learning transfers (or often fails to transfer) from one situation to another.
Following initial coverage of the methods we use to solve unfamiliar problems, the book goes on to examine the psychological processes involved in novice problem solving before progressing to the methods and processes used by skilled problem solvers or 'experts'. Topics include: how we generate a useful representation of a problem as a starting point; general problem solving strategies we use in unfamiliar situations; possible processes involved in insight or lateral thinking; the nature of problem similarity and the role of analogies in problem solving; understanding and learning from textbooks; and how we develop expertise through the learning of specific problem solving skills.