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Tower of Hanoi: Evidence for the Cost of Goal Retrieval

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posted on 01.11.2001 by John R. Anderson, Scott Douglass
Past research on the Tower of Hanoi problem has provided clear evidence for the importance of goal–subgoal structures in problem solving. However, the nature of the traditional Tower of Hanoi problem makes it impossible to determine whether there is any special cost associated with storing or retrieving goals. A variation of the Tower of Hanoi problem is described that allows one to determine separately if there is an effect of how long a goal has to be retained on storage time or how long ago it was formed on retrieval time. This paradigm provides evidence for an effect of retention interval on retrieval time and not on storage time. An ACT–R (Adaptive Control of Thought–Rational; J. R. Anderson & C. Lebiere, 1998) simulation of these data is described, which treats goal memory as no different from other memories.

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01/11/2001

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