Bearman, C. and Ormerod, Thomas C. and Ball, L. J. (2003) A Negative Effect of Evaluation Upon Analogical Problem Solving. In: 25th Anual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2003-08-01, Boston Mass..
Evaluation is generally considered to enhance problem solving and is strongly correlated with increasing expertise. Moreover, manipulations that increase the active processing of source problems generally promote analogical transfer of solution principles. Therefore, we expected that an instruction to evaluate the information given in problem and solution exemplars would enhance analogical problem solving. However, in Experiment 1, evaluation was found to have a detrimental effect on transfer compared with control groups instructed to summarize source problems and solutions, even when participants received additional instructions to memorize source problems for later recall. In Experiment 2, the impairing effects of instructions to evaluate were not reduced by making participants engage in evaluation when solving the target problem, a test of a ‘transfer appropriate processing’ explanation. We propose that instructions to evaluate lead participants to focus upon some elements of source problems and solutions at the expense of other elements required for effective transfer.
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