Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
The Journal of Problem Solving publishes “empirical and theoretical papers on mental mechanisms involved in problem solving,” inviting “original and rigorous research in all areas of human problem solving, with special interest in those difficult problems in which human beings outperform artificial systems.. [and encouraging] submissions from psychology, computer science, mathematics, operations research, and neuroscience.” Suggested topics include “optimization and combinatorial problems, mathematics and physics problems, theorem proving, games and puzzles, knowledge discovery problems, insight problems, and problems arising in applied settings.”
The submissions instructions note that, “Besides behavioral performance measures, such as solution time, proportion, and magnitude of errors, also neuroimaging and other neuroscience data relevant to the study of human problem solving are appropriate for the journal. Authors of theoretical/computational studies are encouraged to focus on modeling those human problem-solving abilities that have not yet been replicated in artificial systems. However, theoretical papers on other topics relevant to the field of problem solving are welcomed as well,” and the editors encourage “submissions from psychology, computer science, mathematics, operations research, and neuroscience.”
A look at the latest available issue, volume 8, issue 1 (2015), finds the articles, “Conceptual Transformation and Cognitive Processes in Origami Paper Folding,” “Differential Modulation of Performance in Insight and Divergent Thinking Tasks with tDCS,” and “Human-Machine Cooperation in Large-Scale Multimedia Retrieval: A Survey.” I was trained as a humanist, but frankly, these articles are fascinating. The origami paper folding article held special interest for me, as I learned origami from a book and the points made in the article are excellent, and absolutely accurate. But the other two articles, involving tDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation) with a verbal insight task (riddles) and a divergent thinking task and the presentation of three approaches to human-machine cooperation (cognitive, ontological, and adaptive), are equally thought-provoking.
My only worry about this journal is that, although it published two issues per year from 2006 to 2013, it has published only a single issue each year since then. That’s a pity, because this is a well-produced, first class journal that deserves the attention of anyone studying the psychologlical, mathematical, neuroscientific, or operational aspects of problem solving. Highly recommended.