Problem solving from different perspectives: An investigation of instructional context on social problem solving ability

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The Means-Ends Problem Solving task (MEPS) was used to assess the effect of instructional set on means-ends thinking. Half of the vignettes were presented from the perspective of a hypothetical individual and half from the subjects' own personal perspective. Results showed that subjects instructed to respond from the perspective of the hypothetical other produced less socially appropriate responses when their own perspective was presented first. When the order of instructed perspective was reversed (i.e., hypothetical other first), no differences in response quality or quantity were found. This finding supports the use of the MEPS in its traditional form. Results from a second task (alternative solution generation), designed to assess the effect of priming across different social problem solving-tasks, revealed a facilitative priming effect. Individuals generated more solutions to a problem situation when the previous MEPS vignettes had been in the instructed perspective order of Other-Self. Implications of the study's findings for a two-stage model of problem solving and clinical assessment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1993


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this