Verbal and spatial processing in transitive inference : effects of problem complexity and ambiguity

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Charles J. Huffman (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Robert Guttentag

Abstract: Recent theorizing concerning factors that affect cognitive processing during problem solving activity has postulated that simple or unambiguous versions of a problem task evoke more verbal than spatial processing, but as the task becomes more complex or ambiguous, spatial processing is used more than verbal processing. This project tested these assumptions by employing a problem task that is potentially solvable using either verbal or spatial processing: transitive inference, or the three-term series task (e.g., John is taller than Fred, Bill is taller than John; is Bill taller than Fred?). Problem complexity and ambiguity were manipulated in separate experiments, and the use of verbal and spatial processing was detected by interfering with each process selectively during the problem solving task. The project also examined the interaction of these manipulations with gender and individual differences.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1994
Problem solving

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