Optimistic Problem Solving

Susan L. Epstein

People are optimistic about problem solving. This paper identifies hallmarks of optimistic human problem solving and how people control for the errors it often engenders. It describes an architecture that permits a controlled version of optimistic problem solving and recounts experiments with it in three very different domains. Results indicate that, controlled for error, optimistic problem solving is a robust approach to a variety of challenging problems.

Submitted: Sep 8, 2008