Thinking and Reasoning 12 (4):413 – 430 (2006)
The present study tested the existence of a cognitive schema that guides people's evaluations of the likelihood that observed problem-solving processes will succeed. The hypothesised schema consisted of attributes that were found to distinguish between retrospective case reports of successful and unsuccessful real world problem solving (Lipshitz & Bar Ilan, 1996). Participants were asked to evaluate the likelihood of success of identical cases of problem solving that differed in the presence or absence of diagnosis, the selection of appropriate or inappropriate solutions, and the pairing of diagnosis with appropriate or non-appropriate solutions. Consistent with the proposition, diagnosis affected perceived likelihood of success, albeit only when solution quality was held constant, and appropriate diagnosis with a compatible solution produced higher perceived likelihood of success than appropriate diagnosis with incompatible solutions. In addition, results showed that solution quality played a significant role, and that compatibility with a six-phase rational model of problem solving played no role in judging likelihood of success.
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