Experts generally solve problems in their fields more effectively than novices because their wellstructured, easily activated knowledge allows for efficient search of a solution space. But what happens when a problem requires a broad search for a solution? One concern is that subjects with a large amount of domain knowledge may actually be at a disadvantage, because their knowledge may confine them to an area of the search space in which the solution does not reside. In other words, domain knowledge may act as a mental set, promoting fixation in creative problem-solving attempts. A series of three experiments in which an adapted version of Mednick’s (1962) remote associates task was used demonstrates conditions under which domain knowledge may inhibit creative problem solving.
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This article is based on a dissertation submitted to the University of Pittsburgh in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Ph.D.
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Wiley, J. Expertise as mental set: The effects of domain knowledge in creative problem solving. Memory & Cognition 26, 716–730 (1998). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03211392
- Domain Knowledge
- Trial Type
- Knowledge Level
- Knowledge Subject
- Neutral Trial