Implicit Memory and Metacognition

By Lynne M. Reder | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Intimations of Memory and Thought

John F. Kihlstrom Yale University

Victor A. Shames University of Arizona

Jennifer Dorfman University of Memphis

Poe dismissed the methods of both Bacon and Aristotle as the paths to certain knowledge. He argued for a third method to knowledge which he called imagination; we now call it intuition. . . . [Intuition] lets the classification start so that the successive iterations, back and forth between the empirical and the rational, hone the product until it eventually conforms to nature. . . . Simply start, and like Poe, trust in the imagination.

-- Allan Sandage and John Bedke Cambridge Atlas of Galaxies, 1994

In The Art of Thought, Wallas ( 1926) decomposed human problem solving into a series of discrete stages, depicted in Fig. 1.1. In the "preparation stage, the thinker accumulates declarative and procedural knowledge within the domain of the problem. Preparation requires awareness that there is a problem to be solved; it entails the adoption of a problem-solving attitude, and the deliberate analysis of the problem itself. Sometimes, the thinker solves the problem at this point. This is especially the case, Wallas thought, with what we would now call routine problems, in which the systematic application of a well-known algorithm will eventually produce the correct solution. If so, the thinker moves immediately from preparation to the verification stage, in which the provisional solution is confirmed and refined or discovered to be incorrect after all.1

At other times, however, the deliberate cognitive effort deployed during the preparation stage fails, and the thinker falls short of solving the problem.

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1
For a review of Wallas' analysis in light of modern research on thinking and problem solving, see Seifert, Meyer, Davidson, Patalano, and Yaniv ( 1995).

-1-

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