Psyc 443: Thinking and Problem Solving

Instructor: Dr. Kent L. Norman
Office hours:

BPS 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 Plant Sciences Electronic Teaching Theater. This facility is a prototype of the multimedia classroom of the future. The classroom has 36 high performance workstations for the students, high resolution large screen video displays for video, computer monitor 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. The two exams will each contribute 20% and the final exam 25% to the course grade. All exams will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions and will be on-line.

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

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

D. Projects and assignments will contribute the last 35% of the grade. These will consist of short written assignments and exercises to be handed in as well as a course project.

3. Textbook:

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

4. Syllabus (dates to be changed)

Syllabus

Psyc 443: Thinking and Problem Solving

DateTopicReadingsAssignments
1/29/2003
Introduction to the Teaching Theater
Manuals

1/31/2003
Overview of Issues
Chapter_1
class roll
2/3/2003
continued

problem solving survey
2/5/2003
Historical Trends: Associationism
Chapter_2

2/7/2003
continued

personal problem solving 1
2/10/2003
continued

dialogue_1
2/12/2003
Historical Trends: Gestalt Psychology
Chapter_3
problem description
2/14/2003
continued


2/17/2003
continued


2/19/2003
Inductive Reasoning: Hypothesis Testing
Chapter_4
dialogue_2
2/21/2003
continued

problem analysis
2/24/2003
continued


2/26/2003
Deductive Reasoning: "Psycho-logic"
Chapter_5
team project input
2/28/2003
continued


3/3/2003
continued


3/5/2003
*** First Exam ***


3/7/2003
Computer Simulation of Problem Solving
Chapter_6
dialogue_3
3/10/2003
continued

analysis of exam
3/12/2003
Mental Chrononmetry: Cognitive Processing


3/14/2003
continued
Chapter_7

3/17/2003
continued


3/19/2003
Schema Theory: Search for Meaning
Chapter_8
schemas
3/21/2003
continued


3/24/2003
Spring Break


3/31/2003
Question Answering: Accessing Knowledge
Chapter_9
dialogue_4
4/2/2003
continued


4/4/2003
continued


4/7/2003
Cognitive Development of Thinking
Chapter_10

4/9/2003
continued


4/11/2003
continued


4/14/2003
*** Second Exam ***


4/16/2003
Intelligence: What is it and how much?
Chapter_11
IQ tests
4/18/2003
continued

dialogue_5
4/21/2003
Creativity Training
Chapter_12
cognitron
4/23/2003
HTML and Web Pages


4/25/2003
continued


4/28/2003
Expert Problem Solving
Chapter_13
interview
4/30/2003
continued


5/2/2003
Analogical Reasoning: Metaphors
Chapter_14
dialogue_6
5/5/2003
continued


5/7/2003
Mathematical Problem Solving
Chapter_15
personal problem solving 2
5/9/2003
continued


5/12/2003
Projects: Team 5, Team 4, Team 3


5/14/2003
Projects: Team 1, Team 2, Team 6


5/19/2003
*** Final Exam *** (8:00 - 10:00 am)