The nine-dot problem: Beyond perceptual organization

Abstract

A dozen versions of the nine-dot problem were individually administered. Instructions stating that S could extend his lines beyond the boundary of the square formed by the nine dots were marginally effective in increasing the number of Ss who solved the problem in a 10-min period. Presenting two extra dots outside the square dramatically increased the number of solvers. It was concluded that perceptual organization, seeing the dots as a confining square, is a minor factor in making the problem a difficult one. The source of the difficulty is, instead, the fact that the sequence of lines involved in the solution is nonobvious.

References

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Correspondence to Clarke A. Burnham.

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Burnham, C.A., Davis, K.G. The nine-dot problem: Beyond perceptual organization. Psychon Sci 17, 321–323 (1969). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03335259

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Keywords

  • Test Item
  • Perceptual Organization
  • Direct Solution
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