The contribution of cognitive style, cognitive abilities and expertise to the solving of complex problems


The influence of Need for Cognition, cognitive abilities and expertise on complex problem-solving was examined. A ‘Need for Cognition’ questionnaire, a cognitive abilities test and five complex problems were presented to a group of experts (Experiment 1) and to a group of novices (Experiment 2). Generally, experts performed better on the complex problems than did novices. Experts low in cognitive ability solved complex problems better than those high in cognitive ability; in addition, experts high on NfC solved complex problems better than those low on NfC. Furthermore, experts low on cognitive ability and low on NfC did best. Within the group of novices, no effect of cognitive ability and NfC on the complex problems was observed.

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