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What did Maier do that led some people to get the correct solution? However, problem spaces can be very large so the key issue is how people navigate their way through the possibilities, given their limited working memory capacities. For many problems we possess domain knowledge that helps us decide what to do.
At no point on either side of the river can orcs outnumber hobbits (or the orcs would eat the outnumbered hobbits).
The problem, then, is to find a method of transporting all six creatures across the river without the hobbits ever being outnumbered.
Another barrier to problem solving is functional fixedness, whereby individuals fail to recognize that objects can be used for a purpose other than that they were designed for.
Maier (1930) illustrated this with his two string problem.
Behaviourist researchers argued that problem solving was a process; that is, organisms faced with a problem applied behaviour that had been successful on a previous occasion.
Successful behaviour was itself believed to have been arrived at through a process of trial-and-error.They have a boat on their side that is capable of carrying two creatures at a time across the river.The goal is to transport all six creatures across to the other side of the river.In particular, in the process of thinking about a problem individuals sometimes "restructured" their representation of the problem, leading to a flash of insight that enabled them to reach a solution.In (1915) Wolfgang Köhler described a series of studies with apes in which the animals appeared to demonstrate insight in problem solving situations.Another heuristic is , whereby people take the action that leads to the biggest similarity between current state and goal state.Before reading further, see if you can solve the following problem: In the hobbits and orcs problem the task instructions are as follows: On one side of a river are three hobbits and three orcs.Luchins (1942) reported a study in which people had to use three jugs of differing capacity (measured in cups) to measure out a required amount of water (given by the experimenter).Some people were given a series of "practice" trials prior to attempting the critical problems.The simplest heuristic is , whereby individuals prefer not to take an action that would take them back to a previous problem state.This is unhelpful when a person has taken an inappropriate action and actually needs to go back a step or more.