Problem solving research has encountered an impasse. Since the seminal work of Newell und Simon (1972) researchers do not seem to have made much theoretical progress (Batchelder and Alexander, 2012; Ohlsson, 2012). In this paper we argue that one factor that is holding back the field is the widespread rejection of introspection among cognitive scientists. We review evidence that introspection improves problem solving performance, sometimes dramatically. Several studies suggest that self-observation, self-monitoring, and self-reflection play a key role in developing problem solving strategies. We argue that studying these introspective processes will require researchers to systematically ask subjects to introspect. However, we document that cognitive science textbooks dismiss introspection and as a consequence introspective methods are not used in problem solving research, even when it would be appropriate. We conclude that research on problem solving would benefit from embracing introspection rather than dismissing it.
Jäkel, Frank and Schreiber, Cornell
"Introspection in Problem Solving,"
The Journal of Problem Solving:
1, Article 4.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jps/vol6/iss1/4