Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Interfaces to encourage look-ahead : impact on problem solving and performance
Author: Chambers, Stephen R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 4279
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2006
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The experiments reported in this thesis attempted to directly study the process of look-ahead during problem solving. Recent work has suggested that interface manipulations that increase look-ahead during problem solving lead to improvements in performance. However, evidence has been indirect, and there have been few attempts specifically made to quantify look-ahead span, changes that may occur over time and possible interactions with the task environment. An initial experiment required users to specify 3 moves in advance while solving the 8-puzzle. The strict enforcing of look-ahead by even a small number of moves was unsuccessful in terms of improving problem performance. In fact, results indicated that such move enforcement may negatively affect performance. Subsequent experiments, using both the 8-puzzle and Water Jars problems, provided participants with a motivation to plan using a Scoreboard system that rewarded greater planning and look-ahead. Results found this approach to be more viable, as the interface appeared to support the opportunistic planning behaviour frequently undertaken by participants. Across a series of experiments, increased look-ahead led to more efficient problem solving performance compared to controls, while leaving total time to solution unaffected. Look-ahead span increased to approximately 11 steps when transforming the same start-state to a goal-state over trials on the 8-puzzle. When a new solution path had to be generated for each new problem start-state, look-ahead still increased over trials, but only to a span of approximately 4 steps. This look-ahead span was also observed during Water Jars performance when the Scoreboard manipulation was present. A manipulation of 'system response time' (SRT) on Water Jars problems also led to improved performance but indicated an adaptation to the manipulation, leading to a lesser impact of SRT than previous manipulations. The results are discussed in relation to existing studies of planning, performance and the role that look-ahead may have in future studies of problem solving.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available