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Proceedings Paper

Graph pyramids as models of human problem solving
Author(s): Zygmunt Pizlo; Zheng Li
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Paper Abstract

Prior theories have assumed that human problem solving involves estimating distances among states and performing search through the problem space. The role of mental representation in those theories was minimal. Results of our recent experiments suggest that humans are able to solve some difficult problems quickly and accurately. Specifically, in solving these problems humans do not seem to rely on distances or on search. It is quite clear that producing good solutions without performing search requires a very effective mental representation. In this paper we concentrate on studying the nature of this representation. Our theory takes the form of a graph pyramid. To verify the psychological plausibility of this theory we tested subjects in a Euclidean Traveling Salesman Problem in the presence of obstacles. The role of the number and size of obstacles was tested for problems with 6-50 cities. We analyzed the effect of experimental conditions on solution time per city and on solution error. The main result is that time per city is systematically affected only by the size of obstacles, but not by their number, or by the number of cities.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 May 2004
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 5299, Computational Imaging II, (21 May 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.543423
Show Author Affiliations
Zygmunt Pizlo, Purdue Univ. (United States)
Zheng Li, Purdue Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5299:
Computational Imaging II
Charles A. Bouman; Eric L. Miller, Editor(s)

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