Psyc 443: Thinking and Problem Solving, Fall 1998

Instructor: Dr. Kent L. Norman
Office hours:
Tuesday 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Friday 10:00 - 11:00 am
ZP 3123F,
phone: (301) 405-5924
email: kent_norman@lap.umd.edu

1. Course Description

This course will focus on a number of topics in human thinking and problem solving. First we will review the historical development of research on problem solving in psychology. This will include a discussion of the philosophical and psychological representations of problem solving in humans as well as a survey of the research literature. Second, we will look at the formal theory of problem solving and discuss the current status of artificial intelligence in computer science and its application to human thinking and problem solving. Finally and most importantly, we will look at our own thinking and problem solving abilities and explore ways of improving both through the use of memory mnemonics, problem solving strategies, and computers.

This semester we have the opportunity to meet in the aITs Electronic Teaching Theater. This facility is a prototype of the multimedia classroom of the future. The classroom has 24 high performance workstations for the students, high resolution large screen video displays, video switching and computer networking for collaborative work.

We will be exploring the use of the classroom during the semester in conjunction with the standard topics that we cover in the course. Students will be expected to take an active part in the learning process, to help design the learning environment, and to work together on collaborative projects. No prior experience with computers is required. However, students should have an interest and an enthusiasm in new technology and should not be afraid to break out of the mold and try new things.

2. Course Requirements:

A. Two exams and a final exam will be given. Each will contribute 25% to the final grade. These exams will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions.

B. Students should attend as many lectures as possible and should obtain notes if absent. Participation in class discussion is important.

C. Reading assignments are listed in the course outline on the back. These should be read before class on the first day assigned.

D. Projects and assignments will contribute the last 25% of the grade. These will consist of short written assignments and exercises to be handed in.

3. Textbook:

Mayer, R. E. (1992). Thinking, problem solving, cognition (2nd ed). New York: W. H. Freeman.

Syllabus

DateTopicsReadingsAssignments
8/31/98
Introduction to the AT&T Classroom
Overview of Issues
--
--
9/2/98
Overview of Issues
Chapter 1
Project 1
9/4/98
Historical Trends: Associationism
Chapter 2
Survey
9/9/98
continued
--
--
9/11/98
continued
--
Project 2
9/14/98
Historical Trends: Gestalt Psychology
Chapter 3
--
9/16/98
continued
--
Project 3
9/18/98
continued
--
Dialogue 1
9/21/98
Inductive Reasoning: Hypothesis Testing
Chapter 4
--
9/23/98
continued
--
--
9/25/98
continued
--
Project 4
9/28/98
Deductive Reasoning: "Psycho-Logic"
Chapter 5
--
9/30/98
continued
--
--
10/2/98
continued
--
--
10/5/98
***First Exam***
--
--
10/7/98
Computer Simulation of Problem Solving
Chapter 6
Project 5
10/9/98
continued
--
Dialogue 2
10/12/98
continued
--
--
10/14/98
Mental Chrononmetry: Cognitive Processing
Chapter 7
--
10/16/98
continued
--
--
10/19/98
Schema Theory: Search for Meaning
Chapter 8
--
10/21/98
continued
--
Project 6
10/23/98
continued
--
--
10/26/98
Question Answering: Accessing Knowledge
Chapter 9
Main Project
10/28/98
continued
--
--
10/30/98
continued
--
--
11/2/98
Cognitive Development of Thinking
Chapter 10
Project 7
11/4/98
continued
--
Dialogue 3
11/6/98
continued
--
--
11/9/98
***Second Exam***
--
--
11/11/98
Intelligence: What is it and how much?
Chapter 11
--
11/13/98
continued
--
--
11/16/98
Creativity Training
Chapter 12
Project 8
11/18/98
continued
--
--
11/20/98
continued
--
--
11/23/98
Expert Problem Solving
Chapter 13
Dialogue 4
11/25/98
continued
--
Project 9
11/27/98
***Thanksgiving Break***
--
--
11/30/98
Analogical Reasoning: Metaphors
Chapter 14
Project 10
12/2/98
continued
--
--
12/4/98
Mathematical Problem Solving
Chapter 15
--
12/4/98
continue
--
--
12/6/98
continued
--
--
12/8/98
Last Class
--
Main Project Due

***Final Exam ***
--
--