Is this problem likely to be solved? A cognitive schema of effective problem solving

Raanan Lipshitz, Daphna Leshem Levy, Keren Or Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-430
Number of pages18
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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