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Introduction

The question of how people solve problems has traditionally been one of the main areas of research in the psychology of thinking. Duncker (1945) defined a problem as occurring when a living creature has a goal but does not know how to achieve it – there is a ‘barrier’ to be overcome between the given state and the desired goal state. Dorner (1976) differentiated between various types of barriers in terms of whether or not the goal state on the one hand and the means to achieve it on the other are clear to the problem solver. On the basis of these different types of barriers, the four types of problems in Table 1 can be distinguished (the table includes at least one example for ...

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