What can we learn from how gifted/average pupils describe their processes of problem solving?

M. Gorodetsky, R. Klavir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Research on the cognitive sub-processes involved in the excellent problem solving of the gifted, as compared to the problem solving of the average person, has attributed the difference between these two populations to selectivity in their Encoding, Comparison and Combination sub-processes. This paper extends this list by adding two sub-processes that are imported from the literature on experts and novices: namely, Retrieval and Goal Directness. Based on these five sub-processes in conjunction with the concept of selectivity as an ordinal (rather than dichotomous) dimension, we have constructed a model that is being used for the analysis of the solution processes of gifted and average students, as reflected in their post solution protocols. Middle high school students (gifted and average) solved insight problems, without and with analogical learning, and were asked to report on the solution process they undertook. The suggested model was found to be an effective instrument for analyzing the sub-processes employed during problem solving. Though both the gifted and the average were able to arrive at correct solutions, the study shows that they employed different sub-processes in doing so. The model can serve as a fine-grade analysis of solution processes among various populations (gifted/average and possibly experts/novices) that will be helpful in research and teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-325
Number of pages21
JournalLearning and Instruction
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Analogical learning
  • Gifted
  • Insight problems
  • Problem solving process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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