External Support and the Development of Problem-Solving Routines

Melanie Cary, Richard A. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Participants in 2 experiments practiced solving complex arithmetic problems with or without external memory aid (paper and pencil). Participants with the memory aid more often developed routines that corresponded to the conceptual structure of the task. The availability of a memory aid also slowed the rate of settling on a stable routine. In Experiment 2, the availability both of an external memory aid and of a worked example varied between participants. Examples had the greatest influence on initial problem-solving strategies but did not override the effects of the memory aid. The results provide evidence about the roles of situational and cognitive constraints in shaping problem-solving routines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1070
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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