M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentBeller Yael
SubjectSolvable or not Solvable? Heuristic Cues in Judgment of
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor ASSOCIATE PROF. Rakefet Ackerman
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version



Meta-reasoning is an emerging domain within the Metacognitive research, which deals with judging and regulating efforts while performing reasoning and problem solving tasks. Upon approaching a problem, a meta-reasoning judgment of whether the problem is solvable or not takes place. This is the Judgment of Solvability (JOS). Response latency has been found to be a heuristic cue for many meta-memory judgments (e.g., Judgment of Learning) and meta-reasoning judgments (e.g., confidence in a provided solution). Accessibility is defined as the amount of information that comes to mind when encountering a cognitive task. It has also been found to be a heuristic cue that underlies metacognitive judgments involved in memory-related tasks (e.g., Feeling of Knowing).

The present study examined the hypotheses that response latency and accessibility underlie JOS, both before and after a problem solving attempt. To test the hypotheses compound remote associate (CRA) problems were used.  CRA problems include three words and call for stream of associations regarding each one of them.

Short response latency predicted a high JOS in the initial stage, but a low JOS in the final stage. Problems with high accessibility were more likely to be judged as solvable, both in initial and final JOSs. A comparison between JOS and meta-memory judgments (Ease of Learning judgment and Judgment of Learning) was made by using a memorizing task with the same stimuli words. This revealed that these misleading cues for problem solving were reliable in the memorization task. Overall, the study exposes shared and distinct mechanisms in meta-memory and meta-reasoning.