We investigated the conscious experiences people had while discovering the contents and layout of a sealed box by manipulating it. Introduction to Psychology students were presented with a black video cassette box containing an object that was free to move and a fixed structure made of plastic foam packing material. Using the sounds the object made when the box was manipulated, subjects were asked to discover both the moving object and the fixed layout of the box. Subjects were videotaped and were asked to describe their conscious experiences and problem solving strategies as they handled the box. They then responded to a check list of possible conscious experiences. Our interest was in determining whether participants adopted a scientific strategy (characterized by hypothesis testing, direct comparison of alternatives, attempts at falsification, and potential for inconclusive investigations) or a pragmatic strategy (characterized by the rapid development of a single notion that is then "confirmed" or evolved through intimate interaction with box behavior). Analysis of subjects' drawings of the box, the actions they took, and their descriptions of their conscious experiences agree in showing that they adopted a pragmatic strategy rather than a scientific strategy in solving the problem.
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference
©1999 by the University of Northern Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Coonfare, Anastasia; Lund, Linda; Rovang, Megan; Schaul, Craig; and Yates, Jack
"Do We Discover the Contents of a Black Box the Way We Think We Do?,"
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference: Vol. 3:
1, Article 13.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/csbsproceedings/vol3/iss1/13