Cognitive Psychology provides student readers with essential help with all aspects of their first course in cognitive psychology, including advice on revising for exams, preparing and writing course assessment materials, and enhancing and progressing their knowledge and skills in line with course requirements in cognitive psychology.



Core Areas

  • Algorithmic methods
  • Anti-looping strategy
  • Balance strategy
  • Functional fixedness
  • Gestalt theories
  • Heuristic methods
  • Information processing approach
  • Insight
  • Means–ends analysis
  • Problem-space theory
  • Rule application hypothesis
  • Rule learning hypothesis
  • Tower of Hanoi

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • define the key terms outlined above;
  • show an understanding of the processes involved in problem-solving using Gestalt and information processing explanations;
  • relate these explanations to the problem-solving tasks set by the key thinkers including the water jug problem, problem space theory, Tower of Hanoi problem and the missionaries and cannibals problem; and
  • be able to evaluate each of the different explanations of problem-solving.

Running Themes

  • Bottom-up processing
  • Ecological validity
  • Experimental cognitive psychology
  • Schema
  • Semantics
  • Top-down processing


Problem-solving makes use of cognitive processes to achieve a goal.

To solve problems, a person's thinking involves a level of consciousness of their thoughts. It may be directive (thinking about a ...

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