Psychosemantic approaches to problem solving: Formal, analogical, paradigmatic and symbolic

Shulamith Kreitler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter presents a new approach to problem solving based on the psychosemantic theory of cognition. The psychosemantic theory assumes that meanings provide the understructure for cognition and shows the contribution of the processes and contents of meaning to cognitive performance. In view of the fact that the formal model of problem solving does not account adequately for all forms of problem solving, further models were presented, based on specific sets of meaning variables. The relevant meaning variables are called types of relation and they characterize the relations between referents and the meanings assigned to them. The four described models are the formal, the analogical, the paradigmatic and the symbolic based on the attributive, comparative, exemplifying-illustrative and metaphoric-symbolic types of relation, respectively. Studies about the characteristics of problems and structures promoting symbolic problem solving are presented. The relative advantages of each model of problem solving are described. It is recommended that they should all be applied in line with the characteristics of problems and of problem solvers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Psychology of Problem Solving
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary Approach
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781622575893
StatePublished - Apr 2012


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