Psychology of Problem Solving: Theory and Practice

By Gary A. Davis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5

COMPUTER
PROBLEM-SOLVING MODELS:
A TOOL TO MATCH THE TASK

IN CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY and other disciplines, the word model profitably may be taken to mean analogy. In any model or analogy, there exists an isomorphism, a point-for‐ point correspondence between the model and the phenomena being modeled. A model train, to take a simple illustration, will correspond point-for-point with the real train. The quality or worth of the model, be it a train or a theoretical model, depends upon the "goodness of fit": the more accurately the details of the model correspond to and predict the details of the real object or process, the better the model. A model therefore cannot be judged "true" or "false" in any meaningful sense; it may be evaluated only in relation to how well it fits or parallels the real phenomenon.

A number of computer scientists interested in psychological problems have noted that in a great many respects a computer may serve as a model of complex human behavior. Hunt ( 1970), especially, describes in detail his structure and process model of complex human behavior, derived from and empirically supported by computer-simulation research.

There are, certainly, many point-for-point analogical correspondences between computer information processing, on

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