Recently I was working on a set of homework problems and couldn't figure out the last problem. I just didn't understand how to put the data into the equation I had. So after working on the problem for quite a long time I called a friend and asked her how she did the problem. She pointed out that I was using the wrong equation. Looking back over the problem it seemed so obvious. As we've talking about before I had hindsight bias when I was thinking that however, it should have been easier than I made it. I was so stuck in my mental set of using a specific equation that I never even considered using a different equation. Oddly enough I can't think of how I could have avoided this. It almost seems like my professor wanted us to get stuck and be challenged! Is there something I could have done differently? Simply doing the problems backwards doesn't seem like it would always solve the problem of forming mental sets. My best guess would be to work with a group of people. It is far less likely that you would fall prey to the obstacles of problem solving if you work with other people. However, in group settings sometimes if one person makes a mistake it's easy to be blinded by it because of a group mentality. I feel like there are pros and cons to the solution of working in a group to avoid making errors in problem solving.

I definitely agree that there are pros and cons to working together as a group. I also believe that if one approaches group work in the right way its advantages will outweigh its disadvantages. For example, in my math class last semester I knew very few of my peers and, as a result of this, I struggled quite a bit on the problems by myself; however; my math class this semester is full of friends in which I work with whenever there is homework due. This scenario makes doing homework much easier but leaves me less prepared for exams. Both of these scenarios are examples of ways in which group work isn't as advantageous as it could be. It would be best to attempt all the problems first and then consult with the group for help on the challenging ones. This way one is not only prepared for exams, but also the homework isn't as much of a burden. It would be interesting to find out if there are any studies that relate to this in particular.