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Intuition versus Analysis: Strategy and Experience in Complex Everyday Problem Solving
Memory and Cognition (2008)
  • Jean E Pretz, Illinois Wesleyan University

Research on dual processes in cognition has found that explicit, analytical thought is more powerful and less vulnerable to heuristics and biases than is implicit, intuitive thought. However, several studies have found that holistic, intuitive processes can outperform analysis, documenting the disruptive effects of hypothesis testing, think-aloud protocols, and analytical judgments. To examine the effects of intuitive versus analytical strategy and level of experience on problem solving, first- through fourth-year undergraduates solved problems dealing with college life. Results of two studies showed that the appropriateness of strategy depends on the problem solver’s level of experience. Analysis was found to be an appropriate strategy for more-experienced individuals, whereas novices scored best when they took a holistic, intuitive perspective. Similar effects of strategy were found when manipulating strategy instruction and when comparing participants based on strategy preference. Implications for research on problem solving, expertise, and dual process models are discussed.

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Jean E Pretz. "Intuition versus Analysis: Strategy and Experience in Complex Everyday Problem Solving" Memory and Cognition Vol. 36 Iss. 3 (2008)
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