Three studies are reported which consider different presentation modes for the Tower of Hanoi puzzle: these are computer and physical models, and a mental representation. Individuals were found to be most efficient when using a mental representation, but the costs were longer times and a greater probability of failure. This efficiency was thought to be in part due to providing a verbal protocol whilst problem-solving. Using a computer was more likely to guarantee success, but only after generating more moves, albeit in a shorter time. Features of the computer display and the alleviation of the load on working memory were thought to explain why this presentation mode was more successful. It is suggested that computers make us inefficient at the problem-solving process
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