ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (10): 1119-1130.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.01119

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The Measurement and Microgenetic Study of Routines in Two-Person Problem Solving

ZHANG Mei;XIN Ziqiang;Lin Chongde   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology at School of Social Development, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China) (2 Institute of Developmental Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
  • Received:2012-11-23 Published:2013-10-25 Online:2013-10-25
  • Contact: XIN Ziqiang

Abstract: Problem solving is a hot topic in cognitive psychology and has reached many consensuses. For example, it was found that individuals often develop strategies that allow them to perform reliably and fluently. One important finding is the einstellung effect. Recently, research on einstellung effect has extended from single to multiple people. Although most empirical studies adopted the task of Transform The Target (TTT) created by Cohen and Bacdayan (1994), this task has not gained as much attention as Tower of Hanoi because of its obscure validation indexes. Moreover, given lacking of the research on the emergence process of routines, two problems, that is, the consciousness and stability of routines, the influence of declarative knowledge on routines are still remained controversial. The purpose of this research was to modify and validate the indexes of routines, describe the emergence process of routines using the microgenetic method. According to the requirement of the study purpose, an electronic program was developed by us. Seventy undergraduates were recruited and were randomly selected into 35 pairs. This study developed a series of 40 hands TTT games according to the requirement of microgenetic method. The moves, the time, and the scores of each participant in the game were recorded. Payoffs were awarded to each pair of players when the tournament was finished. Firstly, this study demonstrated the universality of the routines in this revised TTT game by modifying the picture and confirmation indexes; secondly, it examined the emergence process of routines underlying the instruction of theory of representation redescription and microgenetic method. The results showed that there were obvious routines in the two persons’ problem solving task—TTT game. This effect could be described and confirmed not only through comparing the beginning and finishing 5 hands but also the 5 indexes according to Cohen and Bacdayan’s study (1994): increasing reliability, increasing speed, repeated action sequences, occasional sub-optimality, and patterned behavior based on defined strategy. Based on aforementioned findings, the results further indicated that the generation of routines is the outcome of representation redecoration that based on subjects’ behavior acquisition. The process could be pictured by measuring the path, rate, breadth, the source of behavior and strategies’ change. During the process, routines transformed from procedural to declarative, from unconsciousness to consciousness. These results firstly indicated that the revised indexes were more reasonable and could depict the routines better. Secondly, based on the results in study 2, the generative theory, which is the famous theory of routines, was improved.

Key words: Routines, TTT game, problem solving, strategy, microgenetic method