Problem Solving Assessments

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Early work (see, e.g., Dörner, 1980) used a simulation scenario called “Lohhausen” that contained more than 2000 variables that represented the activities of a small town: Participants had to take over the role of a mayor for a simulated period of 10 years.

The simulation condensed these ten years to ten hours in real time. Construct validity of complex problem solving: a comprehensive view on different facets of intelligence and school grades. doi: 10.1016/j.intell.20 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Kretzschmar, A., and Süß, H.-M. A study on the training of complex problem solving competence.

Later, researchers used smaller dynamic systems as scenarios either based on linear equations (see, e.g., Funke, 1993) or on finite state automata (see, e.g., Buchner and Funke, 1993). doi: 10.1007/s10339-010-0362-z Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Kretzschmar, A., Neubert, J.

In these contexts, CPS consisted of the identification and control of dynamic task environments that were previously unknown to the participants.

For example: in a match-stick arithmetic problem, a person receives a false arithmetic expression constructed out of matchsticks (e.g., IV = III III).

According to the instructions, moving one of the matchsticks will make the equations true. doi: 10.1037/a0017815 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Ramnarayan, S., Strohschneider, S., and Schaub, H. This type of problem is called a “complex problem” and is of central importance to this paper. All psychological processes that occur within individual persons and deal with the handling of such ill-defined complex problems will be subsumed under the umbrella term “complex problem solving” (CPS). In addition, a new “Journal of Dynamic Decision Making” (JDDM) has been launched (Fischer et al., 2015, 2016) to give the field an open-access outlet for research and discussion. doi: 10.1080/02601370.2015.1060024 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Meißner, A., Greiff, S., Frischkorn, G. This paper aims to clarify aspects of validity: what should be meant by the term CPS and what not? Succeeding in the 21st century requires many competencies, including creativity, life-long learning, and collaboration skills (e.g., National Research Council, 2011; Griffin and Care, 2015), to name only a few. Cognitive processes in well-defined and ill-defined problem solving. One competence that seems to be of central importance is the ability to solve complex problems (Mainzer, 2009). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01669 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Schraw, G., Dunkle, M., and Bendixen, L. For example: The goal state for solving the political conflict in the near-east conflict between Israel and Palestine is not clearly defined (living in peaceful harmony with each other? ) and even if the conflict parties would agree on a two-state solution, this goal again leaves many issues unresolved. Telling more than we can know: verbal reports on mental processes. Even though it looks as though the term was coined in the 1970s, Edwards (1962) used the term “dynamic decision making” to describe decisions that come in a sequence. He compared static with dynamic decision making, writing: In dynamic situations, a new complication not found in the static situations arises.


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