[ CogSci Summaries home | UP
| email ]
A. Newell & H. Simon, The Theory of Human Problem Solving; reprinted
in Collins & Smith (eds.), Readings in Cognitive Science, section 1.3.
Author of the summary: Patrawadee Prasangsit, 1999, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cite this paper for:
For the purpose of problem solving, humans are representable as information
processing systems (IPS)
External Memory - Most cognitive science models have no EM.
Humans are representable as information processing systems (IPS)
IPS consists of an active processor, input (sensory) and output (motor)
systems, and internal LTM and STM, and EM.
How much processing and IPS can accomplish per unit of time depends
on three parameters.
1. The number of processes it can do simultaneously
2. The time it takes to do each process
3. The amount of work done by each individual process
Human IPS is a serial system, meaning that it can execute one elementary
information process at a time.
Long-Term Memory (LTM)
Short-Term Memory (STM)
Potentially infinite capacity.
Information is stored in LTM using symbols and relations among them.
Certain stimuli or patterns of stimuli become recognizable through learning.
These are called chunks.
Retrieval (read) time is milliseconds to one second (or not much more).
Storing (write) time is much higher (in the neighborhood of 5-10 seconds
External Memory (EM)
Very small capacity, about 5-7 symbols.
Immediately and completely available to the IPS processes.
All processes take their inputs from and leave their outputs in STM.
Information in STM decays. Rehearsal processes are necessary to maintain
information in STM.
Perception of IPS - Has separate sensory systems for different kinds of
information about the external environment.
The immediately available visual field.
Infinite capacity, accessed by means ranging from linear scanning to random
Its existence makes much difference.
As an example, adding two 10-digit numbers in head versus on paper.
Problem solving in human is goal-directed. It takes place by search
in a problem space i.e., by considering one knowledge state after another
until a desired knowledge state is reached. The search may involve
backup (return to old knowledge states).
This paper was very original at the time it came out.
Presents a basic architecture of problem solving models.
A good reading before SOAR.
Summary author's notes:
to the Cognitive Science Summaries homepage
Cognitive Science Summaries Webmaster:
JimDavies ( email@example.com
Last modified: Mon May 3 03:02:17 EDT 1999