How Many Spaces Does it Take to Get to the Center of a Theory of Human Problem Solving?

Philosophy in the Contemporary World 5 (4):49-55 (1998)
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Abstract

The diverse number of N-space theories and the unrestrained growth of the number of spaces within the multiple space models has incurred general skepticism about the new search space variants within the search space paradigm of psychology. I argue that any N-space theory is computationally equivalent to a single space model. Nevertheless, the N-space theories may explain the systematic behavior of human problem solving better than the original one search space theory by identifying relationships between the tasks that occur in problem solving. These tasks are independent of the particular process and may not be explicitly represented by the problem solver. N-space theorists seem to overlook their own reason for distinguishing N-space theories from single space models, namely the presupposition that these tasks must have a unified, underlying search space architecture. This assumption is ill-founded and may implement a procedural restraint that could impede psychological research.

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