Computer-simulated scenarios have been part of psychological research on problem solving for more than 40 years.
The shift in emphasis from simple toy problems to complex, more real-life oriented problems has been accompanied by discussions about the best ways to assess the process of solving complex problems. doi: 10.1002/acp.2350090605 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Schweizer, F., Wüstenberg, S., and Greiff, S. Validity of the Micro DYN approach: complex problem solving predicts school grades beyond working memory capacity.
For example: The goal state for solving the political conflict in the near-east conflict between Israel and Palestine is not clearly defined (living in peaceful harmony with each other?
) and even if the conflict parties would agree on a two-state solution, this goal again leaves many issues unresolved. Telling more than we can know: verbal reports on mental processes.
For example: in a match-stick arithmetic problem, a person receives a false arithmetic expression constructed out of matchsticks (e.g., IV = III III).
According to the instructions, moving one of the matchsticks will make the equations true. doi: 10.1037/a0017815 Pub Med Abstract | Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Ramnarayan, S., Strohschneider, S., and Schaub, H.
But real-world problems feature open boundaries and have no well-determined solution.
In fact, the world is full of wicked problems and clumsy solutions (Verweij and Thompson, 2006). doi: 10.1177/1046878197281004 Cross Ref Full Text | Google Scholar Rohe, M., Funke, J., Storch, M., and Weber, J. Can motto goals outperform learning and performance goals?
Systematic research on CPS started in the 1970s with observations of the behavior of participants who were confronted with computer simulated microworlds.
For example, in one of those microworlds participants assumed the role of executives who were tasked to manage a company over a certain period of time (see Brehmer and Dörner, 1993, for a discussion of this methodology).