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Flashcards in Insight & creativity Deck (52):

What is insight?

The sudden discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts based on trial-&-error

The sudden emotional response/feeling of solving a problem, NOT the cognitive response


What view are Gestalt approaches to problem solving opposed to?

The behaviourist view of solving problems using trial-&-error learning


A problem can be restructured to reach a solution. What is this called?

"restructuring the problem space"


What does 'restructuring the problem space' require?

Requires insight/recognition that you method is not working
You must reconsider your previous assumptions & rethink the solutions
Requires previous failure


Kohler (1927) placed a chimpanzee in a room with bananas hanging out of reach. What happened?

The bananas moved a block to underneath the bananas & hit them down with a stick

--> they had insight to use tools to get the bananas


Did Kohler's (1927) chimpanzee solve the problem by insight?

Yes - no trial-&-error


Epstein et al. (1984) placed a pigeon in a box with food hanging out of reach. What happened?

The pigeon slowly moved the box to reach the food, getting off the box & moving the box closer multiple times when it realised it couldn't reach


Did Epstein et al.'s (1984) pigeon solve the problem by insight?

No - its behaviour was reinforced by trial-&-error (wasn't a sudden spark of insight)


What is functional fixedness?

When you fixate on an object's normal use & not on other alternative uses


Why might functional fixedness help you solve a problem?

If you view an object as having other uses, a problem can become easier


Who did the 'two-string problem'?

Maier (1931)


What did the 'two-string problem' involve?

2 strings hang from the ceiling, the pp has to tie the strings together but they are too far apart to hold at the same time


How do you solve the 'two-string problem'?

Pps are given pliers - they can tie them to one length of string to act as a weight to use as a pendulum
Can swing the string & catch it whilst holding the other string


Why can't most people solve the 'two-string problem'?

Most fixate on the plier's normal uses & not on alternative uses (= functional fixedness)


Why isn't the 'two-string problem' a good example of functional fixedness?

Because pps can't solve it


Who did the 'candle problem'?

Duncker (1945)


What did the 'candle problem' involve?

Pps must fix & light a candle on a wall so that it doesn’t drip onto the table below
They are given a candle, book of matches & a box of thumbtacks


How do you solve the 'candle problem'?

Empty the box, put the candle inside, use a thumbtack to nail the box with the candle in it to the wall & light the candle with a match


Why can't most people solve the 'candle problem'?

They only see the box as a device to hold thumbtacks, not as a separate component (= functional fixedness)


What do pps do when they are given an empty box with thumbtacks on the side in the 'candle problem'?

They are better at solving the problem --> view the box as a simple container & can imagine alternative uses for it


Why is the 'candle problem' a better experimenter than the 'two-string problem'?

There is a control group


What are set effects?

A type of functional fixedness

You become biased by your previous experiences to prefer certain approaches to a problem, which may block the solution in some cases (= einstellung effect)


Lunchins (1945) claims that the water jugs problem is not an insight study. Why is this?

Pps learn one way of solving the problem & then do not switch methods, even if it isn't the quickest/easier way to solve the problem


Do problems that depend on steps/procedures benefit from interruption? Why?

Problems that depend on steps/procedures don’t benefit from interruption --> people forget their plan & must review what they have previously done


Do problems that depend on insight benefit from interruption? Why?

Problems that depend on insight can benefit from interruption --> the interruption may break set effects; they don’t apply their ideas in the same way & will be able to solve the problem


What did Sio & Ormerod (2009) find about incubation effects?

- divergent thinking tasks benefit more from an interruption than linguistic/visual insight tasks = positive incubation effect

- filling the incubation period with highly cognitively-demanding tasks induces a smaller incubation effect

- filling the incubation period with less cognitively-demanding tasks shows a stronger incubation effect than resting during the incubation period (when solving linguistic insight problems)


Who did the 'cheap necklace problem'?

Silveira (1971)


What does the 'cheap necklace problem' involve?

Pps are given 4 separate pieces of chain (3 links long) - costs 2c to open a link, 3c to close a link

Goal = join all 12 links into a circle for less than 15c


How do pps solve the 'cheap necklace problem'?

Open all 3 links of one chain, then attach & close each link around the other chains to create a circle


Silveira (1971) gave pps no break vs. a 30-min break vs. a 4-hour break to solve the 'cheap necklace problem' - what did he find?

Pps given breaks did better than pps given no break


What effect was found in Silveira's (1971) 'cheap necklace problem'?

Incubation effect


What is a limitation of Silveira's (1971) 'cheap necklace problem'?

We don't know what goes on in the break - pps could be thinking about how to solve the problem


What happens in the incubation period?

Pps let go of their poor ways of solving the problem

People don't know when they are close to the solution, so it seems like insight (but they were actually working on it all along)


Which researcher/s did the 'warmth ratings' experiment?

Metcalfe & Weibe (1987)


What did pps do in the 'warmth ratings' experiment?

Pps gave warmth ratings for how near/far they were from solving an algebra problem (= insight problem)
They gave ratings 60 secs, 45 secs, 30 secs & 15 secs before they solved the problem


What were the results of the 'warmth ratings' experiment?

Pps made a sudden shift from cold ratings to warm ratings (when they solved the problem)

They were aware that they were getting closer to the solution but not when they were closer to insight


Do feelings for being close to solution increase gradually or suddenly for insight problems?

Feelings for being close to solution increase suddenly for insight problems


Do feelings for being close to solution increase gradually or suddenly for non-insight problems?

Feelings for being close to solution increase gradually for non-insight problems


A creative process results in an outcome that is...

...novel & useful for the individual or society


What does P-creative mean?

The individual has come up with a solution/idea that is new & unique to them, but has been used by others in the past

It is useful for the individual


What does H-creative mean?

[historically creative]
The individual has come up with a solution/idea that is new & unique to them & hasn't been used by anyone else before

It is useful for society


Boden (1992) says that we either work within an existing problem space (improb) or we restructure the problem space (imposs).

What is improbabilist & impossibilist creativity?

Improbabilist creativity = we create a new solution to an existing problem using known methods

Impossibilist creativity = we create a new solution to an existing problem using new methods (restructuring the problem space)


Who proposed the 4 stages of creativity?

Wallas (1926)


What are the 4 stages of creativity?

1. Preparation
2. Incubation
3. Illumination
4. Verification


What happens in Preparation (stage 1)?

We think about the problem


What happens in Incubation (stage 2)?

We ignore the problem or allow it to stew for a while


What happens in Illumination (stage 3)?

The solution appears (by insight/hard graft)


What happens in Verification (stage 4)?

We check that the solution words


What are the limitations of Wallas' (1926) 4 stages of creativity?

X it assumes that long periods of time are available to think about the problem --> the stages can only apply to some types of problem

X relies on introspection


What did Goel & Pirolli (1992) state about the creative process?

It has no precise goal (i.e. isn't well-defined) but some pre-existing criteria must be met

It has the features of a design problem space - we have a goal but it isn't well-defined how we will reach it


What do creative 'solutions' usually require?

Knowledge & expertise

--> the problem space is knowledge-rich


Creativity doesn't start from nothing, it has basic building blocks.

Which study supports this statement?

Ward (1992) – asked children to draw what they think an alien might look like --> all drawings looked similar to creatures the children had experienced before/were aware of