University of Twente Student Theses


Can fluency predict problem solving behavior in knowledge-lean puzzles?

Riezebos, Peter (2014) Can fluency predict problem solving behavior in knowledge-lean puzzles?

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Abstract:This study investigates the relation between the executive function of fluency and problem solving ability in knowledge-lean puzzles. Fluency is also referred to as cognitive flexibility or effective strategy use. It is expected that highly fluent learners are better able to adapt learning strategies when needed, and are more successful in generating relevant hypotheses during the problem solving process. Fluency thus is to be an effective predictor of both flexibility in strategy use and hypothesis generation ability, and is to be more effective in predicting these results than other dominantly measured executive functions such as working memory and inhibition. The fieldwork of this study was conducted on location at the East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, China (2012). Data gathering was executed by means of an experiment in which computerized knowledge-lean puzzles and executive function tests (Figure Fluency Test, Word Fluency Test, Colour Word Interference Test, and WISC-digit span) were related and evaluated. Participants (n=53) are all undergraduate students (mean age = 19.3 years, SD = 1.07, n = 53, 18 men and 35 woman). Figure fluency predicts success in the problem solving task, F (1, 51) = 5.568, p = .022, R2= .081 partly due to more elaborate use of the experiment space, F (1, 51) = 17.623, p < .001, R2= .242, which shows to be an effective predictor of problem solving success in knowledge-lean puzzles. Finally, figure fluency predicts uniqueness in successful solutions, F (1, 51) = 9,412, p = .003, R2= .156. Highly fluent participants provide more original successful solutions. Our results show that fluency is correlated moderately-to-high to problem solving ability in knowledge-lean puzzles. Highly fluent participants show increased experimenting, provide better hypotheses and are more flexible in their problem-solving strategies. Results show that fluency can uniquely and effectively predict these results as compared to working memory and inhibition, which show no predictive capacity. Participants seem to rely on cognitive flexibility when other strategies do not lead to desired results. These problemsolving abilities, based on flexibility in the use of strategy, is predominantly seen in highly fluent participants. Based on these results, our hypotheses are validated. These results support our hypotheses and validate the conclusion that fluency effectively predicts problem-solving behavior in knowledge-lean puzzles.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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