The psychological puzzle of Sudoku
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AbstractSudoku puzzles, which are popular worldwide, require individuals to infer the missing digits in a 99 array according to the general rule that every digit from 1 to 9 must occur once in each row, in each column, and in each of the 3-by-3 boxes in the array. We present a theory of how individuals solve these puzzles. It postulates that they rely solely on pure deductions, and that they spontaneously acquire various deductive tactics, which differ in their difficulty depending on their relational complexity, i.e., the number of constraints on which they depend. A major strategic shift is necessary to acquire tactics for more difficult puzzles: solvers have to keep track of possible digits in a cell. We report three experiments corroborating this theory. We also discuss their implications for theories of reasoning that downplay the role of deduction in everyday reasoning.
All Author(s) ListLouis Lee NY, Goodwin GP, Johnson-Laird PN
Journal nameThinking and Reasoning
Detailed description[ 2008 JCR SSCI 1.385 ]
Volume Number14
Issue Number4
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge): STM, Behavioural Science and Public Health Titles
Pages342 - 364
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsDeduction; Inferential strategies; Problem solving; Reasoning
Web of Science Subject CategoriesPsychology; Psychology, Experimental; PSYCHOLOGY, EXPERIMENTAL

Last updated on 2020-28-10 at 01:06