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Complex I-ii^Oi.

'sitEtion jf^
Fapi*r #111
August 14, 1967



this chapter we examine human performance in a third t®sk s

solving problems in a simple system of symbolic logic. In & sense 8 this

vior was
label for the task is misleading, since the subjects whose beha
logic, but in-
studied were not told that they were concerned with symbolic
into other,
stead that they were to "recede" certain strings of symbols
the strings
specified, strings, using a given set of rules to transform

The Data
a set
The subject, facing a blackboard, had before him (Figure 1)
ers connected
of twelve rules for manipulating expressions containing lett
{/^ 0 The con-
by "dots" (o), "wedges" (v), "horseshoes" (=»), and "tildes"
"not," but the
nectors stand respectively for "and, 18 "or," "implies," and
discover this
subject is not told this; and we can assume that he does not
s of their syn-
interpretation, hence, treats the connectors entirely in term
tactic properties and without reference to semantic meaning.
The rules, shown in Figure 1 9 show that expressions of certain
ons of different
(at the tails of the arrows) can be transformed into expressi

since many sub-

I/ The tilde C'vx}, standing for "not 8 " is a partial exception,
d "negative" or
jects noticed that, in appearance and properties, it resemble
tives and minus
"minus"--for example, that pairs of tildes, like pairs of nega
signs, cancelledo
CI? £111

forms (at the heads of the arrows). Transformations designated by double-

headed arrows *>an occur in either direction., We shall consider data from
two groups of subjects! (1) Sixty-four subjects, run by Moore and Anderson
at: Yale University, who attempted sixteen problems each, with a time limit
jf fifteen minutes per problem; (2) ten subjects, run at Carnegie Institute
of Technology, who attempted one to six problems each, with a time limit of
thirty minutes per problem, The subjects in the Moore-Anderson experiments
wer* undergraduates, in the Carnegie Tech studies, undergraduate and graduate
students. The problems used in the Carnegie Tech studies were chosen from
among those used at Yale.
In both studies, the subjects instructed the experimenter aloud
to make specified transformation on the blackboard, These were written down
in sequence, so that they were visible to the subjects along with the problem
and the rules. The list of transformed expressions, together with the ex-
pression transformed in each case, the rule applied, and the time elapsed
constitute the data in the Moore-Anderson experiment « In the Carnegie study,
times were not recorded, but the subjects provided a thinking-aloud protocol
that was recorded.

21 We are grateful to 0 Ko Moore and Scarvia Anderson for their kindness in

allowing us to use their data and providing us with a complete copy of the raw
data sheets. Their experiment was run as part of a study of the effect of alco-
hol on problem solving, but since the design of their experiment was carefully
counterbalanced, and all subjects and problems received the same range of alcohol
treatments; and since the effects of the alcohol were small, we have used through-

out the data for all subjects on each problem.



In the Carnegie Tech study, the subjects had studied the rules
and solved (or vtere helped to solve) three relatively easy practice prob-
lems (Figure 2). They then attempted Problem Dl, followed by Cl. Protocols

were not taken for all problems for all subjects. In all of our analyses,

we will consider all protocols available for a particular problem. In both

studies, the experimenter instructs the subject that his problem is to ob-
tain the expression in the upper right corner from the expression or expres-
sions in the upper left corner, using the twelve rules. At any time the sub-

ject can ask the experimenter to apply one of the rules to an expression that
is already on the blackboard. If the transformation is legal, the experimenter

writes down the new expression in the left-hand column, with the name of the
rule in the right-hand column beside it. The actual course of solution for

our Subject 4 on Problem Dl is shown in Figure 2.

Organization ojE Chapter

In this chapter, as in the two that preceded it 9 one of our first

interests will be to see to what extent the behavior of subjects in the logic
task is explained by the structure of the task environment, independently of
factors that could b@ called "osychological." With this analysis as back-
ground, we will again be able to investigate how the subjects are able to
behave rationally or adaptively in the face of the task requirements, and,
conversely, what factors limit them in achieving efficient, error-free, paths
to the solution of the problems. We will use both bodies of data, as circum-

stances suggest.
The General Problem Solver, which we described in Chapter VT, was
initially developed as a theory of behavior in the logic task. We will use
GIF #111 -*V~

GPS as a first approximation to an explanation of the behavior, and then

take up the modifications required by the deviations we discover between

observations and theory.


To provide both a feel for human behavior in the environment of

the logic task, and the way in which GPS explains important features of that
behavior, we consider first a single protocol: Subject 9 on Problem Alpha 1.

This was a relatively simple training problem, the first problem the sub-
ject attempted after studying the twelve rules. In Figure 3, the protocol

of Sub9 is shown on the right. On the left side of the same Figure is a

computer trace of a particular version of GPS solving the same problem. We

will compare them informally, without reducing the protocol to a PBG.

The language of the subject is much less stylized than the lan-

guage of the computer program. To fit the theory 3 we must, for example,

interpret a sentence such as, "I'm looking at the idea of reversing these

two things now," as equivalent to "Construct the difference-reduction goal

of eliminating the difference in position of corresponding sobparfcs in ob-

jects 11 and L2o" We have already seen that to make such a translation is,

in practice, not too difficult; and having made it, we can determine in great

detail the similarities and differences between the programs of the subject

and the computer, respectively.

Let us consider some of the differences visible in the example that

represent inadequacies of GPS in this form as an accurate theory of the sub-

ject's behavior. Observe that the subject solves the entire problem in his

head and then asks the experimenter to write the actual transformations on
the blackboard. The CIS program, in the version shown here, makes no pro-
vision for such & distinction between the internal and external worlds;
hence, the trace corresponds only to the subject's covert (but verbalized)
problem solving. For example, GPS and the subject both discover in the same
sequence the correct rules for transforming the problem expression, but the
subject "publicly" applied these rules in the reverse order-
Another difference, characteristic of these data (and, as we have
abundantly seen, of protocol data in general) is that a number of things
appear in the trace that have no correspondents in the human protocol--most
prominently, the reference here in the trace to rules 5, 7, and 8. We can-
not tell whether these omissions indicate an error in the theory, or whether
the subject noticed the rules in question but failed to mention them aloud.
In contrast to these differences, there is some striking corres-
pondence in detail between the computer trace and the subject's protocol.
First, in noticing differences between pairs of expressions, both GPS and
the subject pay most attention to differences in the positions of symbols,
next most attention to the presence or absence of " K signs, and least at-
tention to differences in connectives. This shows up 9 for example, in the
refusal of both to apply Rule 2, after mentioning it, to reorder the expres-
sion, because applying the rule involves changing a sign. Second, of the
several possible paths to solution of the problem, both program and subject
chose an application of fi&ld 6 and two applications of Bole 1.

Alternative Solutions
There are, in fact, six distinct solution paths of length three,
all of them essentially permutations of the one used by the subject and GPS.
For, expressed in functional terms, the problem calls for three changes to
GIF #111 -6-

be carried out, and these can be carried out in any order (3! ** 6) 0 In

the words oi Suhll , whose protocol we will examine in a moments "You've got
to change the places of the R to the other side; and you have to change the
signs, tilde, and horseshoe to wedge; and you've got to reverse the places

from P and Q to Q and P."

Thus, like the clicking safe, the problem is factorable into sub-

problems, the solution of each of which can be recognized from the form of
the resulting expression, and each of which can be carried out with a single
3/ For references we list the six paths (where "Rx(p) fl means 8
"apply Rule x to the subexpression containing P and Q) s

1. Rl, R2(p), R6(p)

2. Rl, R6(pK Rl(p)
3. R2(p), Rl, R6(p)
4. R2(p), R6(p), Rl
5. RS{p), Rl, Rl(p)
6. R6(p), Rl(p), Rl
In Figure 4 are shown the protocols, somewhat abridged, of four
4/ There are close similarities among all five protocols
other subjects.

3/ The only element of interdependence is that the operation required to

reverse P and Q is R2 if their connective is still "^", but Rl if the con-
nective has previously been changed to Mv".
4/ Portions of the protocols are omitted that are concerned with preliminary
interchanges between experimenter and subject, prcddings by the experimenter
to urge the subject to talk, and some passages, especially in Subll's protocols,
where the subject eliminates misunderstandings about the application of the
rules. These passages would not change our analysis.
C1F #111 -7-

Subject 10, Alpha 1

Oh, there's an interchange of signs. See.....

Oh, I'm looking at the second set of rules, but I don't think...
Rule 4 is collecting terms... but they're in different order.
Rule 4 will not apply because they're not an inner grouping change.
Oh, there's no major sign change
no major connective change either
Urn... try Rule 1...
Try inside the expression ...
Oh, Rule 6; JOB implies, or is, /uAvB.
Hum, that would be /UB3Q. Rule 6 would apply for inside the parentheses
Involves Rule 6 and Rule 1.
All right. Apply R6 inside the parenthesis.
(2) Ro(PvQ)
No. Well, that's right.
Now I have to apply Rl inside the parenthesis.
(3) R.(QvP)
Now Rl to the whole expression.
(4) (QvP).R



Finding the Formula
for the Area of a Parallelogram
C\P fill

the dots, he has only a. small number of possibilit5.es before hlm^-aot includ-
ing any solutionso What is difficult is to answer the ill-defined question;
"What can I do that I haven 1 t tried?" This question is likely to be answered

successfully only Ic the problem solver has an appropriate set of generators

and selective heuristics for obtaining a few possibilities in a larger space.
In fthe logic problems, the given expressions end goal expression
in the problem statement define a limited set of expressions that csn be derived
without excessive searchs (1) simplifications of one or more of the given ex-
pressioaj (e.g., applications of R8), (2) rule applications that promise to
reducg differences between the given expressions and LO, (3) applications of
ruj»is that conspicuously fit the forms of given expressions, and (4) expres-
sions obtained by inessential steps. We have seen that the inessential rules
generate small closed subsets of expressions, while changes in the direction
of simplification and difference-reduction will also not generate a large
space of new possibilities The complexity of the original expression sets
an upper bound on the size and complexity of expressions that cen be obtained
by simplification or by application of rules that fit expressions particularly
closely, while the characteristics of given and goal place bounds on wanderings
motivated by the aim of reducing the differences batween them (these wanderings
can only produce expressions that are in some sense "between" the givens and
the goal!).
From these considerations we would conjecture that subjects will
generally generate the expressions that can be obtained in these three ways,
and that those problems will be difficult that require steps going beyond
these boundaries, steps which, by analogy, we call constructions. The principal
types of steps that should be regarded as constructions are certain applications
GIF #111

of E9 S sad certain applications of R7 (usually preceded by R10} 0

la Appendix X to this chapter we show the solutions to the sixteen
problem that are summarised in Figure 14 0 Using these as e:5amples s wa can

see under wha£ conditions, applications of R7 and R9 are to be regarded as

cons true t io'.is »
Constructions With Rul®_7.« Consider Problem Al» The expression

LI is r£ the form, (XoY)v(X'.X), which is so close to one of the forms of R?

es ifiaedietely to suggest that rule. We will therefore not consider applica-

tion of R7 in this problem to be a construction. Next, consider Problem Clo

^he final step in solving the problem is to apply R7 to (PvQ).(PvR). But in

order to do this, the input part of this expression must first be generated,
This is done by obtaining PvQ, then PvR, and then using RIO to put them to-
gether with a dot. We will consider the sequence of RIO followed by R7 to be

a construction, since in working forward, a large number of possible pairs of

expressions might be generated as candidates for R10 0 The sequence > R10 9

R7» occurs also in one solution of B3 S and in the solution of C4c

Now, consider L3 in the solution of D2. By means of three inessen-

tial steps, this expression is changed into a form where R7 cen b3 s and is,
applied. The path here, involving R5 followed by R7 a is sufficiently indirect
to &e regarded as a construction,, A similar construction occurs in the first

solution of B2o
Construction With Rule 9. Consider Problem A4. The goal, LO, is

PvTo The letter T occurs nowhere in the given expressions. Hence, en obvious

route to the solution is to obtain P 9 then transform it into PvT by R9o In

this, and comparable, cases, the application of R9 is not a construction, for

it is motivated by examining the difference in variables between given and
goal expressions.
"SV7, ..*t-{ » -fi

Now consider B4. In this solution. Rule 9 is tssed to produce

PvQ from P, and the output used for Rll. The letter Q is absent from the
goal expression, and actually present in two of the given expressions.
/Hence, adding it with R9 is a construction. Similar kinds of applications of
R9 occur in two solutions of B2, two solutions of A3, and in one solution of
Other Constructions» There is only one other sequence of transform-
ations that should probably be regarded as a construction,, The first solution
of A3 requires R4 and then R5 to b<g applied to L5 in order to obtain HR:, which
is subsequently used as an input to Rllo
If we accept these criteria for determining which transformations
are to be regarded as constructions, then wa see from Figure 14 that construc-
tions were involved in all but one of the solutions of the seven hard problems,
while no construction was involved in any of the solutions of the nine easier
problems, except one solution employed by three subjects. Among the problems
not involving constructions, there is also some inverse correlation between
number of solvers and number of essential steps.
Some Statistical Evidence. The distinction between constructions
and other steps may seem arbitrary and ad hoc. We can subject it to several
kinds of tests, empirical and theoretical. First, we will examine soate statis-
tical data, then approach the problem with the tools of simulation.
Figure 16 shows, for eight of the problems, the number of subjects
who wrote down various specific expressions that lie along the paths to solu-
tions. From these, we can determine which steps were the difficult ones. We
can also obtain strong evidence that in certain situations steps are logically
linked that the first of a pair of transformation was generally carried out by
Problem Al (19)

R8,R8,R11 19

Problem A2 (17)
R4 Rll R11-R3

Problem B3 (9) 50%

R12 R3
(25 12
(39%) (58%)

R7 Rll

(one subject applied both R12 and RIO)

Problem^Cl (6)

R6 R12 R6 RIO R7
ae 12
89%) (67%) (58%) C86%)
47% 53% 50%



12 = R7

Problem PI (24)


R8 Rll
(67%) (9f6%)

FIGURE 16 (continued)
CIP fin

svi>jects in order to carry out the second. The evidence for this would be
that almost all subjects who carried out the first in .fact also, carried out the
i second. We will encounter eleven instances of this pehnomena in the eight
i problems. However, let us take up the problems in order.
i In Problem Al, three-fifths of the subjects applied R7 to LI (after
inessential transformation), and half of these discovered the remaining steps
! (simplification by R8, then Rll) to solution. This is characteristic of the
I ' 4, '.
statistics for the easy probletas*
Problem A2 provides an example of linked transformations. Only half
' V

of the subjects found the re-grouping of LI by R4, but four-fifths of these

went on to apply Rll. We may conjecture that many of them worked backwards,
|. applying Rule 4 in order to' obtain the expression P.Q-as. input for the Rll
r . ' •
I .'•"--.• '
; application. Two-thi rds of these went on to solve the problem.
v -
Two solution paths are shown for Problem B3. Let us look first at
{ . '"N
i- i
the lower path (the first solution in Figure 14). Only six of the subjects ap-
plied RIO, but all but one of these went on to use R7, and three solved the
problem. The evidence is strong that RIO was used in order to apply R7. In
the other path, twelve subjects <* an expression equivalent to ~ Q :3 Q or

QvQ, and half of these applied R3 and R9 to obtain the solution. Since the two

applications of R12 can be motivated by the aim of eliminating unwanted letters,

"V. '

it is not obvious why so few subjects found this path. It is possible that

~ P "D Q and P2Q looked so much alike as to discourage subjects from supposing
that anything could be gained by working with the two expressions together
but this explanation is entirely ad hoc.

In Problem B4, similarly to A2, the most difficult step »as to

consider applying R9 or R3 at the outset. More than half of the subjects who
did solved the problem (17 out of 33) ? although they had to take a whole se-
quence of essential steps. Each essential step, however, removed ah unwanted
The diagram for Problem Cl shows the detail of some of the inessen-
tial, as well as the essential, steps . Note again that subjects who got RIO
almost all followed through with R7. The construction was not the or.ly dif-
ficulty, however, for only one-quarter of the subjects applied R12 0 The diffi-

culty of this problem also involved the phenomenon of functional fixity It

is the only problem in which the same term, PvQ, is put to two distinct uses
in the solution. It is used as the left-hand input to RIO after it has previous-
ly been used to construct one of the inputs to R12 0 We will later present evi-

dence that some subjects were det irred from "using up" PvQ by R12 because they
could see that they wanted that expression as . one of the components of LO.
Problem C4 provides anther example of the R10-R7 construction, where,
again, 10 out of 12 subjects who itade the former transformation made the latter.
Half of the subjects lost the tra:U while eliminating Q and (P.Q), and only a
third of the remainder carried through the construction.

We have already examined the statistics of Dl at length. The graph

for Problem D4 shows that three principal subproblerae ere involved. The R9-R11

construction can be seen in the ujoer left part of the diagram. Only half the

subjects applied R9 S but all of tbisse went on to apply Rll. A large fraction of

these failed to obtain ~ R, needed for the elimination of the letter R.

We conclude that these data are generally consistent with our con-
struction hypothesis. In particular, they point to certain steps that are
Clip fill -V4-

strongly linked--where the subject was very likely operating with & plan to

carry through both steps. The data do not indicate that subjects generally

constructed a full plan for problem solution before asking transformations,,

If they had done this, we would expect very low transition probabilities

through the remainder of the chain. Insteed, we see a picture of steady attri-

tion, hastened at difficult steps and slowed down somexdmt between linked steps.
Interpretation by Simulation. Cur hypotheses about problem diffi-

culty can be examined further by a technique similar to the ona we used with

Problem Dl. We can postulate a certain processing system, and ask which ex-

pressions that system would generate for each problem, and whether it would,

in fact, solve the problem,,

The assumptions are thase. We postulate (simplification) that R8

will be applied to all expressions with dots as niain connectives; that in-
essential rules will be applied when useful to make rules fit, and, in partic-
ular, that R2 and R5 will be applied whan this will reduce the number of

tildes. We postulate that Rll and R12 will be applied to eliminate unwanted

letters, and that R7 will be applied when one of the givan expressions is of

th© form (AB)(AC). Finally, we postulate that R9 will be applied as the last

step when LO is of the form AvB, and B does not occur in the given expressions.
As the reader can verify by hand simulating It, a processor obeying

these postulates would solve all but one (Bl) of the six easiest problems (i.e.,
Al, D3, A4 Dl and C3), and none of the harder ones. It would fail with Bl
because that problem calls for using R9, and then Rll. The processor in Bl

would generate P and ~ P; to solve the problem, it would have to add QvS to

one of these expressions by R9, then cancel out the P's with Rll. It is pos-

sible that the semantic interpretation of this problem ("P and not P") helped

some of the subjects to find the solution, hence it made it easier than we

would have estimated from its formal structure.

In Problem G2, the processor would fell to find the final sequence,
R7-R8. In B4, it would fail to use R with Rll, since R appears in LO, end
hence'fehouId not be eliminated." In A2, the processor would fail to use RIO
to form P.Q aft&r obtaining P and Q separately. These are the three problems

that come next in order of difficulty. The processor would fail on all of the

seven difficult problems, because none of its heuristics would cruse it to

make any construcf.ions. Thus, we may regard the hypothetical processor as

a crude first approximation to the heuristics employed by those subjsets who

solved the easier problems but not the harder ones.


Furtlifr light can be cast on the nature of problem difficulty by

examining in da;ail nine protocols for subjects trying to solve the difficult
problem, Cl, succeeding in three cases and failing in sis. Six of these
subjects are also among the seven for whom we have protocols for Dl. Of these

six, two (JibS and Sub9) solved both Dl and Cl, two (Sub4 and SublO) solved Dl
but not C/, and two (Sub5 and Subll) failed to solve either problem. These re-

sults a" consistent with our classification of Cl as more difficult than Dl,
espec?>lly since the subjects attempted Cl after they had previously attempted Dl.
Some five main paths can ba described that have some a priori plaus-

ibi'-ity as routes for getting from LI: {PvQ).(Qpa) to 10" Pv(QJ

i One of the failures (Sub2) was probably caused by an error of the experi-
menter in putting an expression on the board. Hence, the boxscore should prob-

ably jba interpreted as four solutions and five failures.


Sub 3

1. Eliminate s Q by R7 (Path 4)
Transform LI for R7
Consider hew to follow R7 with R4
2. Search 2-line rules
3. Transform Ll for R7 - R4 (Path 4)
4. Analyses result of transformation*

"But since we wanted all three of the letters in the

final answer.» I more or less tended to forget about
that - the idea of eliminating. K

FIGURE 17 (a)
GIF #111 •-* $

Subl on Cl X»lnes_

B30) Search rules to transform LI

a. Rl - R7
b» &pply R8 tmee (Path 3} L2, L3
(He notices that CQ^R)^ <Q«R)
c. £pply R12 to X»2, 1*3 « X*4
(Notes similarity of LI to LI in Dl)
d« Search 2- line rules for L2 «- L4«
2o fB30 - B36) Extract P frost 1(24-) by R8 (Path 1}
3o (B37 « B55) Apply R7 to Ll (Path 5> L5
4* (B57 - B62) Search 2- line rules for L2 - 1*4 <,
5* (B63 - B72) Search rules to transform LI
6 e ({B?2 B76) Search rules to transform expressions
7. <B77 - B103) Search ru3.es for Ll that reduce difference
[Fails to apply Rid
8. (B103 - B123) Search rules for one applicable L6
9. (B124 - B144) Work b®e}ward fr^sa 1*0 >

b. Get P p then R9 to PvR

FIGURE 17 (b)

SubS - Cl

i} Plans G@t Q«R from Q=>R (Path 2)

Cb) Plans R7 t© (F^3) • (PV'R)
.*. change OOR to FvR
2.. &pply R7 to LI C^ath 4) l*Z t L3

3. C®) Obtain Q*E frem QSR, (Path 2) L4, L5

Cb) than Obtain P from |WP) by R8 (Path 3} L6
4o Get P; add vCQ«R) by R9 (Path 1) *
Get P by Rll from 3. (LI)
Search rules for method to get P
G«t P by R8 from 1(L1) £.7
5« (a) Rule 9—>pv(pv<i), then Rll to get P L8,9*10,11
(b) Rule 9-~>pvCpvi|), then R12 LI'2,13
(c) Rule 9—*(pv^)^C^*B') t then R12 to get Pfc(£'*R) 1*14,15,16,

FIGURE 17 (c)
- GIF #1

SubB - Cl Lines

1. Inspects (a) Use R4 or R7 R7 "R4"

(b) Get LO from P by R9

2o Oat F (a) by R8, a8« (Path 1}
(b) by H8.1CLD, 2-line r«le)
spply R8 to r<X»l) to get Q for Rll on 1*2
3. Search Rules
(«} Consider RIO - R7*
IR7 not applicable)
4«, Get P as in (.2) (Path 1) 1*3 9 L4
5* Eliminate P 9 s (notices L3 and LI)
by R12
6. Consider 1*7
Coaabine L7, L2 by RIO L8, L9, L10 tf Lll
then apply R7 L12,

FIGURE 17 (d)



1. Observes 8 R7, E4
2 « Apply R7 to 1*1 (Path 4) L2, L3
3o Consider R12 as in Dl,
get (Q-R) and add P by R9 (Path 2)
4« Work backward from LO
do Search Rules

5 0 det (PvR } by R12 (considers) (Path 5)

60 Gat P, add {$»&) by R9 (Path 1)
7o J^pply R7, H4 (Path 4) L4
8 a Get (F*fc) by R12 (Path 5) L5, L6, L7, L8
then apply R7, via RIO L9, 1,10, Lit

FIGURE 17 (e)
01P #111

\ ° 1. a) (B3-9) Find antecedent of LO by R4

b) (BIO-17) Find antecedent of LO by R7, match with Ll
1 c) (B18-21) Apply R12? conclude? R12 infeaaible
(eliminates Q's)
1 d} (B22-26) Search rules
1 2 0 Balete Q (by R8) (Path 1)
2 a) (B27-44) Apply R8 to Ll, then to !(£,!) or r(Li).
2 3o Delete Q by Rll Q,

3 a) (B45-70) Get Q by
3 b) J(B72^73) Us® E9 to g&k QO B for
3 C ) (B79-93) Get 0 from 1(L1) by R8
2 4o Delete Q by Rll
2 a) (S94-97) Restate goal
3 b) (B98-116) Get Q by R? j^(QP)
3 £c) (B117-123) Get Q by R8 then
2 d) (B124-125) Delete 0 by Rll
2*3 5 * De3-ete Q ^ RI3L * Get 0 by R8 insj^e (illegal)
3 e) (B126-135) Apply R8 within R(L1)
2 [b) (B135-140) Get Q - Get P and Q-R, apply RlcT]
3 c) (B140-175) Apply R8 inside, then R8,
1 60 Delete Q (B176-180)
2 «) (B1S1 241) Delete Q by R7
2 B) (B242-291) Search Rules

FIGURE 17 (f)

>fibll on Gl Lines

lo Describe d iff ranees of &1, &0

2 0 Search rules for scathed
(pteeectaal changes)
a) change^ to « in
Search rules
b) apply R7 (Path
3* Work backwards frosi
R7 ««PvQ)
change QDR to
apply R12 Cclarify rules)
4. Apply R7 (B©th 4)
So Search rules
60 H9—*»(QDR)vP (Path 2}
Get «OR) by R8.. add vP L2, L3, L4
Changed to * (Search Rules)
ChangeJD to c before adding vP

FIGURE 17 (g)
CIF #111

~ Cl

1. Observes
(a) Apply R8, R8, 812 ? (from Dl)
2* Apply R7 (Sath 4) &2, 1,3
3* Work backwards

Change (/vQvR) to
Us® 2-line rules (R12)
(but this eliminates 0}
Search rules to change r(Ll)
4c Get (PvQ), add vR b^ R9 (variant of Path 1}
So Change (/-^»QvR) to PvH)
60 Get (PvR) (Path 5}
Use 2-line rules, eliminate Q
Use R8, R8, R12 M 9 1,5, L6 , L7

* R7 L8, L9^ 1.10

WI must remember that X want to get a (Fv») from somewhere

out of two oxpressions."

FIGURS 17 (h)
lo Extract P (applying R8) 9 then add (Q.R) by R9*
20 Transform r(Ll) to {Q*R), then add P by R9«
3. Extract P from I(LI), Q 0R from r{Ll), then combine
4. Eliminate the extra Q by applying R7 to LI, then
regroup with R4.
5. Derive (PvQ) and PvR), then apply RIO followed by R7.

Only the fifth path is operative; none of the others yield solu­

tions of the problem. Path 1 should produce expressions belonging to the

• . i

equivalence class of 1(L1), and expressions obtained by applying R9 to these.

Path 2 should produce the analogous expressions derived from R(Ll) fl Path

3 should produce expressions from Ll» 1(L1) and r(Ll). Path 4 should produce

expressions from the equi/alence class of LI (since, as in Dl, R7 is not

actually applicable). Path 5 should produce expressions from the equivalence

classes of -r(Ll) asid 1{L1), but also the class of ~ P "3 R, and the two final
expressions, C?vQ)o(?vR) and LOo The expressions generated by the nine

subjects are liraitsd to thes« cless^s", with two exceptions; (1) as a re­

sult of the experimenter's error, Sub2 generated six expressions derived

from the incorrect P ^ ~ R; (2) on a path resembling Path 3, Sub 5 generated

11 expressions like (PvQ)vP and two like (PvQ)v(Q.R) which Vie tried to com-
— *

bine to eliminate the (PvQ) by R12.

If we include Sub2 as a "solver," then only the four subjects who

solved the problem applied R12 to obtain (~Pr>R)j and conversely, therefore,,

all who applied that rale solved the problemc Before we investigate the

significance of this fact, another fact should be mentioned. Three of the

four solvers discovered, by working backwards, t%at LO could be obtained

~" 'C-- ^ '"'

from (PvQ) and (?vR) by RIO and R7. However, SubS derived (~ P 3

without previously noticing that fact. Moreover, three of the five non-
solvers (SubS, Sub10, and Subll), also discovered the R1Q-R7 possibility
by working backward, but did not use it successfully. Unless we can ex­
plain these anomalies, our hypotheses about the source of problem difficulty
will fail. We therefore will concern ourselves first with the working-
backward episodes in the protocols, with particular reference to SubS, Sub10,
and Subll. (We might observe that SubS and Subll failed to solve Problem
Dl also, hence dismiss them as "weak" problem solvers; but this would not
explain the causes of their weakness, nor why S10, who solved Dl readily,
failed on this problem.)

Working-Backward Episodes

Sub2, in his first episode, slmpl5.fiss LI by obtaining its two sub­

expressions with SB. He then searches for applicable rul*s, finding and ap­
plying R12. At this point he notices the possibility of applying R7, and

appears to notice that the term in (PR) that he he.3 just derived is an ap­
propriate input £oa? this step. Unfortunately, at this point the experimenter

made an error in writing down an expression, and Sub2, working with the in­
correct instead of the correct expressions, £&iled after persistent attempts
to apply RIO and R7, and abandoned the plan for another. 3ven allowing for

the error, there is considerable mystery in this protocol as to why Sub2,

after actually deriving the two expressions, (PvQ) and (PvR), required for
input to RIO and R7, did not see how to carry through the plan a
Near the beginning of his protocol, SubS notices that (PvQ).(PvR)
would give the answer by R7, and that he already has {PvQ). However, looking

at LI, and influenced by the two Q's in Hhat expression, he immediately

transforais t!*8 sttbproblssa into one of applying R7 to L1 9 (Path 4), which
he is unable to doo Ha then goes off to another plan, which he pursues
with great persistence as he did his infeasible plan in Dl. The critical

passage near the beginning of the protocol is this s

If we had a PvR and a PvQ, we could get

the answer directly by R7. We have a PvQ; we also have s
(pR< A (PR. can be change^...into a wedge by R6,
except that we are going to have a sign problem again—and—
let's try it anyway. Let's try R6, second part of Llo

He concludes the episode by:

What I'm doing, and I think it's wrong—
saaybe I'll go back—I'm trying to get the expression into
something to which R7 will apply, b&t once I get there
it's only going to give one a P and a Q . . . * a Q and an
R plus a P, plus R or P, R term—that won't do me any good.

SubS's difficulty, therefore, arises from failing to fixate suf­

ficiently clearly the precise nature $»f the expression to which R7 is to be
applied in order to yield LO, and he never evolves a plan for obtaining the
appropriate inputs to R7.
SubS begins somewhat as Sub2 did. Initially, he considers Path 4--

R7 to LI, then R4—but recalls from his experience with Dl the impossibility
of changing signs in LI to fit R7. Es then looks at LO, whose main con­

nective, wedge, suggests Path 1 to him. This leads him to rules like 3

and 12 that cancel terms, so that he soon has derived (PvQ), (<P&), and
(~«3P). He does not have any definite plan in mind, for he then says;

There I am. I don't know what I'm going to

do with it though. Well, raeybe if I look at these for a
minute, I can see something sore that applies.
Shortly thereafter, he armounces the R10-R7 plan, but the events
leading up to it are unclear. Whatever the exact steps, SubS basically
solved the problem by working forward, applying a simplification heuristic,
and examining the simplified expressions for the possibilities of new
Sub9 also begins by noticing Path 4. Since he did not struggle

with the signs in LI of Froblem Dl, he has not learned about the properties
of the equivalence class of LI. Hence, he tries for some time tc put LI

in shape fov R7. After abandoning this tack, he soon tries going backward
from LO, utati clearly?

We've got the PQ, but the PR, we still have to get.

He considers using R12 to cancel Q from (FQXQR), but then dis-

tificts himself by considering Path 1. He soon returns to R12, applies it,

and carries through to the conclusion.

SublO., who worked backwards from LO but failed to solve the problem.,
has a very instructive protocol. We quote the relevant passage, near the
beginning, in full:

I keep looking at the second expression, trying to

work i>*ckwiii;xit* 9 which idii't too goou, I'll just see.
Pv(QoR) would be ? . . . oh, it f d be R7 0 „ . (PvQ)o(PvR)o
Now in the first expressicn there is (PvQ).(QpR), which
isn't consistent, because there's only one ?. All right
. . . urn . . o let's see o . . we have to keep a P, a
Q and an R. Therefore we couldn't use R12, because it
eliminates Qs . . o after you got done with all the other

cir- tri

He then abandons Path 5, and never returns to it. Now SublO

had previously solved Dl; and in doing so, he had used R12 "to eliminate
R's," In fact, early in his Dl protocol he says:

Hum c . . the thing to do is to try and eliminate

the R's. Therefore I'll have to use something like R12.

Thus, in 01,he views an application of R12 as "eliminating" the

Q's, hence as removing (PvQ), which he needs for the subsequent applica­
tion of R7. We have here a clear example of functional fixity. Since

(PvQ) is to function as one of the inputs for RIO and thence R7, it cannot
be "consumed" as an input for R12.
A very similar piece of reasoning appears in the protocol of Subll
He discovers that R7 applied to (PvQ).(PvR) would yield LO. Comparing the
needed expression with LI, he observes:

So the step I use to get ttke final expression is

PvQ, which is the first expression I started out with . . .
the only thing actually I'd have to work on is to change
the QCR to ... PvR. That doesn't help much because I'd
have to change the first expression to get it and I'd have
to change the results back to PvQ. Let's see now . . . what
could I do? Well, let's try to change the horseshoe to a wedge
again. . . . &2C on 12 ... that would give me what I wanted
. . . but in doing so, I'd have to take out the Q.

Here again, the subject assumes implicitly that PvQ is "consumed"

by its use with R12, hence is not later available for RIO.
Finally, Sub13 also works backwards from LO, also is troubled by
the dual role of PvQ, but finally overcomes the difficulty. From the ex­

pression (PvQ).("^vR), he observes;

We're going to have to get . . . (FvQ)- -which we
have— .(PvR). I just went to get the ^Q to P. No, how
can I get that? Ah, probably by using two lines ....
X could break it apart, but I don't want to break it
apart though. It looks like I'm going to have to though.

Somewhat later, he comment ss

I must remember that-.'-. .1 want to get a PvR from

somewhere out of two expressions,

Shortly thereafter, he derives PvR, and comments immediately;

Now, if we can get that back into the expression [i.e. s

into (PvQ)*(*Qv&), mentioned above, replacing (~QvR).] If
I can get from somewhere just a PvQ , . .

At this point , he finds his way to the solution.

There is no very solid ground for speculating why Subl3 was able
to overcome the difficulty about the double function of PvQ, while SublO and
were not. Nor do we know why these three subjects were troubled by thsi
Sub Sub
problem, while Li and ^9 applied the worklag-bacfcwards idea without difficulty
What we do know is that representing the functions of certain operators as
"cancelling" or "eliminating^* a symbol can deter a subject from applying
the operator if he also -knows the symbol will be needed for another function.
We can now see also the reason why-, among the Moore -Ander son sub­

jects, a sizeable fraction of those who applied R12 went on to solve the
problem (Figure 16). In our protocols , R12 was occasionally applied in

the interest of simplification, or some similar working -forward motivation.

Both Sub2 and Sub8 appear to have applied it without previously working
backward from LO to discover that PvR was needed. However, the latter path
was the more common one for arriying at the naed for R12 But a subject
GIF $111 -9U-

whc noted in this way that PvR must be obtained would simultaneously note
that PvQ must be retained, hence, as we have seen, would be reluctant to
alter the latter. The argument against double functions would show up as
a failure to apply R12.
The double-function phenomena do not require the introduction of
any(.-v basic mechanisms beyond those already contained in 6PS. Suppose that,

before an operator is applied "publicly"—i.e., to write a new expression

on the board—it is checked to see whether the differences it will produce
are larger or more serious than those it removes. If the answer is "yes,"
it will not be applied. Now the use of this test in this problem situ­
ation is fallacious, since any expression in the logic problems can exist
in as many copies as desired, hence is not destroyed by transformation. If

the problem expressions were made of wood, and the transformations accomplished
by saws and drills, then the test as described would be entirely appropriate.
A piece of wood that has been fashioned into the leg of a chair cannot also
be used in manufacturing the chair back.
Similarly, the double-function test is often quite relevant in chess
If a Knight is guarding a Bishop, tken it cannot simultaneously protect a
Fawn. That is to say, it can guard either» but not both in the face of a
simultaneous assault. Failure to note that a piece is overburdened by mul­
tiple functions, and that in actually performing one it may become disabled
from performing the others, is a frequent source of chess blunders (or, con­
versely, for the player who exploits his opponent's overburdened piece, a
source of combinations). Position A, which we have analysed extensively
in Chapter 8 illustrates the point well. Several of Black's pieces protecting
the N on his Q4 have multiple functions.
We conclude that for subjects who worked forward, the R10-R7
construction made Problem Cl difficult. Such a subject would have to apply

R12 for some reason unconnected with the actual solution path (as Sub2 and
SubS did) in order to hit upon the path. For subjects working backward, th«

problem difficulty stems primarily from the double function of the sub­
expression (PvQ).


At various points in this analysis, we have alluded to changes that

took place in the problem-solving procedures of the subjects over a series
of problems. We have mentioned, for example, that most of the solutions
(14 of 24) of Dl by the Moore-Andersen subjects were obtained by the one-
fourth of the subjects who had already had experience with at least twelve
other problems. We have also alluded to differences in the problem-solving

styles of different subjects.

Individual Differences

We might expect learning phenomena and individual differences to

be interconnected. Some individual differences might take the form of a

greater range and sophistication of techniques available to one subject than

to another. In such a case, we might expect practice to alter the style of

the less sophisticated subject in the direction of the more sophisticated.

Any kind of learning—whether this or some other—that occurred would also
reduce the consistency of style of a given subject over a sequence of problems
There are several conspicuous aspects of style that we might hope

to be able to identify from the protocols:

CIP #111 -92 ~

(1) Number of rule applications carried out.

Subjects may be more or less consistent in
being relatively quick or relatively.slow
to write new expressions on the board.
(2) Forward search of rules to find rule applic­
able to given or derived expressions.
(3) Search of rules to find rule to perform de­
sired function or reduce specified difference
(as contrasted with direct association from
function to rule).
(4) Working backwards from LO to find expressions
that will yield LO.

In addition, we may find differences in the way in which subjects

characterize problems, and perhaps style differences as well. In Figure

18, we show the initial segments of the protocols of two subjects, Sub9 and
Subll, each for two problems, Dl and Cl. (It should be kept in mind that

the subjects attempted Dl before Cl.) By comparing vertically, we can look

for similarities derived from working in a common task environment—the same
problem. By comparing horizontally, we can detect similarities of individual
style that persist across problems.
First, at a superficial level, we notice some striking consistencies
in manner of expression, that identify the two subjects. In Sub9's protocols,

these include "Well, ... reminds ma of..., but" or "Well ...suggests to me,
but. 11 "I require" or "I need," "so," "drop." In Subll'a protocol, we have
"Uh-huh, let's see now," "remove," "change," and "What I can do on it."
At a deeper level, the processes of comparing LI with W are quite
different for the two subjects. In both cases, the form of LO (or possibly,
in Cl, of LO and LI) reminds Sub9 of a rule. The central problem, as he

characterizes it, is in both cases getting the letters and number of occurrences

LOs Pv(Q.R)
LI: (PvQ)o(QDH)


Well, the tilde on the outside Well, that suggests to me R7 and

reminds me of R5. But inside R4, but X have a horseshoe in
R5 there's also a dot, so it that, and, let's see, I'll
figures I might get something need a Q and an R and a P. So
out of that later on. X re­ I have to drop the Q and switch
quire a Q and a P« . .. Q and that horseshoe. And that I can
a P, and there's a Q in the do handily enough using R6«
second part* a P in the other,
and there's two Us in there*
So I could drop both those Rs
and see ... split those
terms up. How, what could I
do that with?

lets see now* Remove Hum. Let's see now. The only
all Rs, horseshoe, change the thing to remove is the horseshoe
sign of the 0 from the horse­ The Q is taken out of the
shoe to the tilde* change the first expression, the dot is
sign on P from tilde to a dot the major connective to change
before it* X»et c s see, the to a wedge, and the horseshoe
major connective remains the in QoR is changed to a dot.
same... it's a dot and the Let's sae« what can X do on
final expression is negative, the first expression...
with a tilde in it. I'm look­
ing over the sheet . . „ see
what X can do on it.

on> #11

in LI to agree with those in LO. Subll, on the other hand, makes a

symbol-by-symbol match between LI and LO, with little or no abstraction
of the detail of connectives. Particular 1 oca table segments of LI are to
be transformed to particular parts of LO ("change the sign on P from tilde
to & dot before it, 11 "The Q is taken out of the first expression.")
In Figure 19, we compare for problems Dl and Cl tha styles of all
six subjects for whom we have protocols for both problems.,
First, we notice great individual consistency in the number of ex­
pressions written down. On both probleus, Sll woiks almost entirely in his
head, writing down only three expression each time; while S5 produces 17
expressions in tfce one case, 19 in the other. Only Sub4 who solved Dl
(after writing 13 expressions), but fallal to solve Cl (writing only 6),
exhibits inconsistency in this respect. VIotice that the two extreme cases,
Subll and Sub3, were both subjects who sclved neither problem.
Four of the six protocols contai i extensive searches of the list
of rules at one or more points. Each sub j ».at was entirely consistent in
this respect, either making such searches ox not on both problems. The two
who did not search were a non-solver, Sub3, und a solver, Sub9.
One subject, SubS, frequently searci»d through and scrutinized,
in both problems, the expressions he had alrecvy written down. He and Sub 4
were the only two subjects who obtained both litl) and r(Ll) in Dl before
considering the plan of applying R12.
SubS, on both problems, and SublO on Cl, shewed great persistence
in pursuing a particular infeasible plan, this belt? the source of most of
the expressions generated. Statements do not recur in their protocols re­
stating the overall problem goals.
LJ fill

SUM _ SubS
_ SubO ^ Sub9 SublO Stsbll
Expressions Writ tens
Dl 13 17 11 8 8 3
Cl 6 19 11 10 8 3

Problem Solved?
Dl X X X X
Cl 1C X

R.'ie Searches s
Cl X X X X
Searches Sxpressionss
Dl v/ X V
Cl X


Dl • x )
Cl X ! X
Works Backward
Cl E
1 X
X & 31
C3e&€5r © ! Character
Dl X |x<latar)
I5 - • • . Jt
X X Oetailc
Cl Td?
X j | v
X X Detailc

Problem Solving

As we have already remarked, four subjects worked backward from
LO in €1, and one of these, Sub9, also did so in Dl. The two subjects

who did not do this in either problem, 8ub4 and Sub3, were the same ones
who, as noted abov®, were successful in working forward in Dl.
The four subjects who worked backward also gave a characterization
of the problems at the beginnings of their protocols. Subll1 s characteriz­

ation, as we saw in Figure 18, was highly particularistic. The others were

similar to Sub9's. Sub8 characterized Dl in general terms at several points

in his protocol, but not at the beginning.
There are considerable consistencies, therefore, in the behavior
of each subject, and substantial differences between subjects. Arranging

the subjects in the apparent order of their problem-solving power, we might

describe them as follows:

Sub9 generates clear general plans, working both backwards and

forward, which he executes with moderate difficulty.
Sub8 is initially much less planful, works forward, searching
the rules when necessary, scens the new expressions as he
generates them, and reformulates the problem with the new
information obtained. In solving the problems he writes
22 expressions while Sub9 writes 18.
Sub4 resembles Sub8 in his behavior, but appears less resource­
ful in goiuiirAti&g u«w expressions that give him new insights
as he proceeds.
SublO generates plans and wcrics backwards, but sometimes persists
with a single aubgoal, and somfttiisss searches through tha
rules for an applicable one.
Sub5 resembles SublO and Sub9 in characterizing the problem
broadly and in planning, but in each case, he becomes pre­
occupied with a subgoal, and does not get beck to the tcain
CB? #111 «97-

Subll concerns himself with the detail rather than the broad
structure of the problems, and spends much time in search-
ing for rules he can apply, but without applying them un-
less the outcome has an obvious use.

As significant as the difference* among the subjects is the fact

that all of them operate in the problem space defined by the expressions
and rules, and all of them use the same basic processes of finding differ-
ences, finding relevant operators, and applying operators. The range of
Individual difference has much the same character, therefore, as the individual
differences in the cryptarithmetic problems.
In terms of our earlier classifications of strategies for applying
means-end analysis, SubS provides a clear example of the depth-fir*t strategy.
SubS, on the other hand, fits the pattern of a scan-and-search strategy.
Most of the subjects operate alternately In terms of a somewhat abstracted
planning space, and a concrete problem space, but Sub9 perhaps exhibits
this alternation HKMȣ clearly. He accomplishes most of his problem-solving
in terms of the abstracted *»-wtvr*»««ionfl.

In speaking of the "style 1* of a subject, we have been concerned

only with behavior over a pair of immediately successive problems. We
cannot tell from this evidence whether a subject would retain the sane
style over a ouch lo&gor range of experience. In particular, we cannot

tell whether, or how rapidly, the weaker problem solvers would gradually
acquire the style of the stronger; or whether rule searches would gradually
disappear from a subject's protocols as he learned the functions and condi-
tions for applicability of each of the rules. To throw some light on these

questions, we shall take up next the behavior; of SubS, for whom we have a
series of six protocols, baginning with Dl and Cl, and continuing through
problems A2', B2, A4, and 03.
U? #3.11 ,.;!.,

Problem A2' is a variant of A2, produced by a typographical error.

In A2 1 LO is T.t, LI is Po(QoR) and L2 is ~CE3T} •=> ~ (P.Q). It is solved

by commuting 12, obtaining first P*Q, then P from LI (by R4, R8 or by R8,
RIO), and then obtaining E5T, then T by Rll. Finally, R3 gives T 0 T. It is
a problem of moderate difficulty,.' We recall that B2 is a difficult prob­
lem, while C3 and A4 are easy. Sub8 failed to solve A2 1 , but solved the
other three.

Figure 20 summarizes the style of Sub8 in each of the problems he

attempted. The items are the same as in Figure 19, and for comparison, the
style of Sub9 in the two problems of Figure 19 is shown in the final column
Qf Figure 20. A gradual shift of the style of Sub8 in the direction of
Sub9*s style is clearly apparent from the Figure.
After Problem Cl, Sub8 no longer searches through the rules. The
protocols for the last four problems hsva many consents that show he no?-?
knows the functions of the rules:

A2 8 s "Well, the first fehing I think of when I see

tha two Unas ir, . . . ecaietJ^oe or another we
are going to have to apply either Rll or R12
. . . I've got too many terms there; some of them
will have to be cancelled cut,"
A4s (After solving) !:I don't have to refer to that
paper much any more; I'm starting to remember
the rules as X look at them."
B2: "I want to change that wedge to a dot. And
we'll do that by R5. lf
C3: (After solving) "As soon as I see a term any more
it reminds me of a certain rule, and that's the one.
Actually these rules are separate; they seemed to be
close together in the beg inning--a 11 mixed up. But
now they're really getting far apart. I see a terra,
and it's there."
Dl el A2' B2 A4 C3 Sub9
depressions Written 11 11 IS 15 11 11
Problem Solved X X X X X X
Rule Searches X X
Search Expressions X X X x
Works Backward X X X • X
General Character X X X X

Changes in Style
SubS continues to generate expressions \,^.r,iug sorward tor the
first three or four problems, and to scan these expressions to determine
how to proceed, but no longer does this in the last two problems. (This
change may not represent learning, but may simply reflect the fact that the
problems were sufficiently easy that he did not have to conduct searches.)
He works backward from LO for the first time in A2', and does so in all
succeeding problems. On the last three problems, SubS characterises the
problem at the outset, and on the last two, outlines a correct plan for
its solution.
Summarizing these changes, we can say that SubS (1) gradually ac­
quired a table of connections p or associations, between features and dif­
ferences on the one hand, and rules on the other; (2) shifted from a working-
fon-72rc? style to a style based on abstract characterization of the main
problem features and planning.
We can also test whether this particular movie will run in reverse.
For we have protocols for Sub9 with the three practice problems. Alpha 1,
Alpha 2 9 and Alpha 3, which he attempted just before Dl (Figure 21). Will
these earlier protocols of Sub9 show any of the characteristics of SubS's
earlier behavior?
In Problem Alpha 1, Sub9 mak<ss notes on his rule sheet, indicating
the functions of the various rules: "I'd made a system out of this so I*d
know exactly what I wanted. So here . . . like on RIO I made a note here . .
that addition; in R9 I had a choice; and R4 is a group change. So in all
these I now have notes as to exactly what I can do with them . . . because
if I just started looking at these rules, it's just about a hit and miss oper­
ation." Sub9 then proceeds by noticing differences^ then searching the rules
to find one appropriate for the difference.
vf fin -101-

Alpha 1 Alpha 2 Alpha 3

Bxpressions Written 4 3 10
Problem Solved X
Rale Searches X
Search Expressions
Works Backward X
General Character X X

Changes in Style - Sub9

In Problem Alpha 2 9 Sub9 runs into difficulty, beceuae he does
not knew that expressions can be split up, and the pa^ts used as inputs
to two-line rules„ Hence, he fails to solve the problem. There are sev­
eral extensive rule searches. In Problem Alpha 3, he characterises the
problem fairly completely at the beginning, and conducts one extensive search
through the rules..
In summary, Sub9's behavior on the practice problem resembles Sub8 ! s
early behavior more closely than Sab9 B s subsequent behavior 9 but it is
beginning to shift toward the latter on the third training problem. He is
clearly aware that one of his learning tesfcs is to learn the rales and their
functions. He gives no evidence that ha is consciously aware of learning
to plan and to characterize the / features of the problems.


In this chapter we have ranged widely through the territory of

logic problems 0 The landscape resembled strongly those we had previously
encountered in chess and eryptaritkmetico The exploratory bahavior of the
human problem solvers in this environment reflected the structure and ap­
pearance of the landscape as viewed and explored by information processing
systems having limited capacities to detect patterns, to infer consequences 9
to remember paths of exploration, and to learn heuristic generalisations
about the character of the landscape. The subjects behaved, in short, very
much like a number of variant versions of GPS.
As a first approximation, the range of paths that a group of sub­
jects will explore in a problem of this kind can be predicted by assuming that
they will make exploration and solution plans based on (a) comparing starting
VXP #111 -103-

point with desired goal, applying appropriate operators to reduce differ-

ences; (b) simplifying the initial expressions; (e) applying operators
whose inputs strikingly resemble given expressions. To varying degrees,
subgoals are set up to find operators that vill modify expressions to make
them fit operators that have been selected for application* The behavior
of all of the subjects, and all versions of 6PS fit this first approximation;
the variations provi«J* second approximations * The variations lie in a
number of dimensions*
1. Subjects differ (as does the same subject at different stages
of learning) in the way in which they characterize the initial problem.
They appear to learn gradually which differences are the important ones
that should be given first priority in planning solutions, and which can
be removed in the process of fitting operators to expressions.
2. Subjects differ in their persistence in pursuing a subgo&l
once it is formulated* and conversely, in their readiness to return to a
consideration of the overall problem.

3* Subjects differ in the relative priority they give to working

foftvard, and to restructuring toe problem in terms of information acquired
while exploring, as compared with working backward and in the framework of
a definite plan.
4* Subjects differ in the cues they use to detect cycling and
leek of progress toward a goal.
5. Subjects differ in the extent to which they try to explore
paths mentally, as against writing expressions on the board where they can
examine them.
6.. Subjects differ in th<s «:.x.tent to which operators are associ­
ated in memory directly with differences or features* so that searches ara
not required to find appropriate operators.
7. Subjects acquire generalized knowledge that certain differences
are not remediable (e.g., changing a single sign without changing a con­
nective), hence should be signals for terminating exploration- They ac­

quire generalized knowledge thet certain goals can bs achieved by fixed se­
quences of specific operators (e.g., go from horseshoe to dot by R6, then
R5), and that these sequences will have certain consequences (e.g., that
the sequence Just mentioned will put a tilde before an expression, or re­
move one if it is already there).
To a large extent, these differences can be detected in protocols,
and used to account for the variety in style of the explorations of various
subjects. We have shown also how- relative problem difficulty is related to
the presence or absence of particular cspabilities in programs 5 and her,.? the ,
solvability of a problem can be sstisiated frcni the structure of the program.
With this analysis, we complete our detailed protocol analyses, and
turn to a series of problems raised by our investigations. Sone of these

are problems., by-passed by the use of the F5G, or by informal use of literal
quotations, of how natural language is processed in problem solving activity.
Others are problems of the micro-structure of the processing system and of
processes themselves. The next section of this volume will be addressed to

these problems.