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Week 8 Notes

by: Briana Hughes

Week 8 Notes PSY 3100 002

Briana Hughes
GPA 3.8

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This document is a detailed outline of Readings 14 and 15 for Week 8. The outline is divided by the important titles and subtitles of the book. Important information such as Researchers, Findings, ...
Topics: Brain, Behavior and Cognition: Psychology of Creativity
Dr. Weisberg
Class Notes
Psychology, Creativity
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Briana Hughes on Wednesday February 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSY 3100 002 at Temple University taught by Dr. Weisberg in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Topics: Brain, Behavior and Cognition: Psychology of Creativity in Psychlogy at Temple University.


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Date Created: 02/24/16
Chapter 6 The Question of Insight in Problem Solving  2 kinds of problem solving: o Analytical Methods o Aha! Experience  Leaps of insight  Current question in Gestalt psychology: different mechanisms in solving a problem through insight vs. analysis? The Gestalt Analysis of Insight: Problem Solving and Perception  Problem solving through insight = 3 criteria: o Problem is solved suddenly (Aha! Experience) o Solved after an impasse (period of no progress) o Solved as result of new way of approaching the problem (a restructuring of the problem)  Gestalt psychologists applied perception-based concepts to problem solving and creative thinking; particularly to insight Gestalt View: o Restructuring in problem solving is analogous to restructuring in perception o Perception-like processes in restructuring and insight different from processes underlying analytic problem solving o A problem situation is a state of instability/tension  More than one interpretation for a stimulus is possible; situation can be structured in more than one way; restructuring happens spontaneously as a result of “forces” or unstable patterns of activity in the viewer’s nervous system  The goal cannot be immediately attained from the problem state  First method usually doesn’t work; solution requires switch in perspective/way problem is analyzed  i.e. Socks Problem o initial direction = original structure o New perspective = restructuring o Aha! You got it  i.e the Lilies Problem o people assume you need arithmetic (original structure) o Need to simply analyze concepts involved and use reasoning (restructure perspective) o Aha! You got it  i.e. Nine-Dot Problem, the Candle problem, the Two-String problem  Restructuring can bring complete or partial insight depending on complexity of problem  Simple problem = complete insight o Find solution o i.e. the Lilies problem  Complex problems = partial insight o Realize step to make process in right direction Insight versus Experience: Fixation in Problem Solving  Assumed no specialized knowledge needed to achieve insight o i.e. reversible cube, Antique Coin, Nine-dot, lilies, cardboard box, socks, candle problems  HOWEVER, restructuring a problem can sometimes be difficult o Factors that can interfere with restructuring:  Fixated on past experience: Person’s attempt to apply knowledge to a problem for which it does not apply  Reminiscent of tension view  I.e. Nine-Dot Problem o One of most difficult and well known in psychology o Difficulty from fixation  Shape of dots perceived as a box; people assume you must draw lines within the square  Fixation from perceptual factors and experience with connect-the dots puzzles  i.e. Antique Coin o Difficulty from fixation  Our perspective looks back in time; must take perspective of coin maker Evidence to Support the Gestalt View Kohler’s Research on Insight: Problem Solving versus Learning  Classic research on insight in problem solving focused on animals because of Darwin’s theory of close relationship between humans and animals  Anecdotal reports of what animals could do; usually pets; no concrete evidence o i.e. Finding way home, learning to open locked door Thorndike’s Study of Intelligence in Animals  Tested whether or not insight present in animals  Research: Created apparatuses (puzzle boxes); placed hungry cat in cage; Food placed in sight but out of reach  Finding: cat’s use trial and error to escape  Conclusion: Cat gradually learned to escape from cage; no insight into how to escape o No experience to fall back on o Had to piece together bits and pieces of solution from random responses Kohler’s Response to Thorndike: Intelligence and Insight in Chimpanzees  Criticism: Layout of the whole situation must be available to restructure situation and exhibit insight o Construction of Thorndike’s puzzle boxes didn’t allow animals to see/understand how they worked from the inside  Had to rely on trial and error Research: series of investigations of insight in chimps o Rake problem  Finding: Banana out of reach, stick present, used stick to rake banana over  Conclusion: animal reached impasse (couldn’t reach banana); suddenly saw solution (the stick); no specific info/knowledge needed  Stick had to be in view between animal and banana Insight in Humans: Evidence for the Occurrence of Aha! Experiences in the Laboratory  Metcalfe and Wiebe studied Aha! Moments in humans under controlled lab conditions o Research: several times a minute; continuous record of participants’ beliefs concerning how close they were to solution of problem by reporting if they were cold, warm, or hot o Findings/Conclusions:  Insight problems: little increase in warmth until just before solution  Analytical problems: gradual increase in warmth  Used by others to examine subjective experiences during problem solving  Only supports one component of insight (Aha! Experience/problem solved suddenly) Laboratory Evidence for Restructuring in Problem Solving  The Bartender Problem (pg. 295) o Requires restructuring before solution can occur o Durso and Colleagues  Research: asked people to relate pairs of words before they heard the problem; after they heard the problem; every 10 minutes as they worked on the problem; after the solved the problem  Related pairs, unrelated pairs, insight pairs (became related after solution was discovered)  Conclusions: restructuring does occur during the solution of one insight problem; provides example of method to demonstrate occurrence of restructuring  Criticism: may not support idea of sudden change in perspective; but may be because he only measured at a few points, not as frequently as Metcalfe and Wiebe Failure and Fixation in Problem Solving Duncker’s Study of Functional Fixedness  Research: problems with seemingly simple solutions required familiar object be used in novel way o Candle Problem Finding: if box first presented in its usual function (container for tacks) it interfered with its being used in a new way; when presented empty first, solution usually proposed rather quickly  Conclusions:  Functional fixedness: interference brought about  Container properties: presenting box full of tacks highlighted what it usually used for o Made it harder to picture using box as platform or shelf  Component of initial structure of problem had to be changed for solution to be produced Design Fixation in Problem Solving  Janson and Smith sought to examine design fixation in engineers and engineering students o Research:  Experimental group given picture of item with flaws pointed out, told to avoid them; control group receives no example both expected to make a new and improved design  Hypothesized that group that saw example would incorporate aspects of it, maybe even its flaws o Finding: group who was shown the example produced less novel products o Conclusions: people have great difficulty approaching a problem on its own terms if they have info that is relevant to it Frensch and Sternberg o Research Finding: expert bridge players less able to cope with changes in structure than novice players o Conclusions: expertise can interfere with adjustment to new problematic situations Ward o Research: asked people to create entirely new species of organisms o Finding: new creatures had many human characteristics o Conclusions: In order to create novel species, an individual must break away from knowledge about creatures around them Evidence for Nonanalytic Processes in Insight Verbal Overshadowing of Insight  Schooler and colleagues o Research  Collected verbal protocols while people worked on insight and analytic problems o Findings: Verbal Protocols Interfered with solution of insight problems but not analytic problems o Conclusions  Verbal overshadowing indicates that insight and analytic problems are solved using different methods  methods underlying solution of insight problems may be nonverbal (perceptual or nonanalytic) Hemispheric Differences in Solving Insight Problems  Bowden and Beeman o Research  Experiment 2 Finding: participants faster in recognizing actual solution word when presented to right hemisphere Conclusions: insight depends on unique set of processes (left vs. right hemisphere presentation affected solution different) Criticism: o didn’t examine effects of left vs. right hemisphere processing on analytic problem solving o presenting words to one hemisphere didn’t mean other hemisphere didn’t process them (intact brain transfers info between hemispheres) o Further research  Using EEG and FMRI to investigate brain mechanisms involved in insight vs. analysis as modes of solving problems  Just beginning to examine possible differences in brain regions involved Working Memory and Planning in Insight versus Analysis  Lavric and Colleagues o Research  Had people work on either insight problems or a logic problem while simultaneously keeping track of number of tones presented by a computer (use WM) o Finding: Counting the tones didn’t interfere with performance on insight problems o Conclusions: people don’t use planning when solving insight problems; process underlying insight problems are different from analysis Limitations  Are perceptual processes reliable/true explanations for problem solving (Weisberg & Alba)  Notions of perception can only be applied to problem solving through analogy, analogy may not be reliable explanation  Lack of precision in applying perceptual concepts to problem solving The Neo-Gestalt View: Heuristic-Based Restructuring in Response to Impasse  Attempt to explain restructuring and insight in response to impasse by using concepts from the cognitive perspective  Retains basic structure of classic Gestalt view  Kaplan and Simon & Ohlsson believe in heuristically guided search o Heuristics can solve as basis for search for a new problem representation o Hit impasse; “Switch/restructure when stuck”  Weak methods  Independent of knowledge of thinker  Bottom-up phenomenon o Ohlsson’s Analysis of Restructuring  Several forms:  Elaboration o Try to find different way to describe object(s) in problem which may open new path to solution  Re-encoding o Decide some previously ignored object should be included in the problem which can lead to new solution methods  Relaxing goal constraints o Change the way he/she thinks about the goal of the problem or methods used to reach the goal  Analyzed behavior in several insight problems  Two-String Problem o Elaboration: examine other objects and note that the pliers are heavy  contemplate uses for heavy things  possible use of pliers as weight for a pendulum (logical reasoning)  Candle Problem o Elaboration: examine features of box  box is flat and sturdy  idea of using it as shelf (logical reasoning) o Re-encoding: reveal the presence of the box after an impasse  new solution possibilities Studies of Restructuring in Response to Impasse  Knoblich and colleagues o Research 1: used matchstick-arithmetic problems to test Ohlsson’s analysis of restructuring  Findings:  Constraint relaxation: clash with constraints imposed by one’s experience with equations in ordinary arithmetic  Chunk Decomposition  Conclusion: it is harder to relax operator constraint than numerical constraint because operator constraint wider in application o Research 2: Matchstick problems given to college undergrads o Conclusion: confirmed it is harder to relax operator constraint; supported theory of constraint relaxation and chunk decomposition; supported Ohlsson’s analysis o Limitations: no attempt to measure whether impasse occurred; only indirectly supportive of Ohlsson’s view; say nothing about restructuring in response to impasse  Kaplan and Simon o Research: Collected verbal protocols during Mutilated Checkerboard problem o Findings: people didn’t, in response to impasse, discover the importance of parity by themselves  Only when clue presented  Aha! moment o Limitations: none of participants restructured in response to impasse until given a clue; results don’t support neo-Gestalt view  Summary of research supporting Gestalt Theory Table 6.3 pg. 309 Challenges to the Gestalt View Insight and Experience: Knowledge and Insight in Kohler’s Chimps  There is no way to determine the animal’s experiences before captivity o Birch  indicated that experiences in the wild were critical in “insightful” performances  Research 1: investigation of problem solving similar to Kohler i.e. Rake Problem; except his animals were raised from birth in captivity Findings: animals with no experience with sticks were not able to solve simple stick-use problems even when organized in optimal way; animal with experience successful; naïve animal who figured it out did so by accident  Research 2: left sticks in compound for animals to get acquainted with  Findings: after several days of free play, animals able to solve Rake problem  Conclusion: experience is necessary before insight  Learning Sets and Insight: Positive Effects of Experience on Insight o Harlow  Research: Monkeys presented with several hundred discrimination problems Findings: Beginning of experiment = “Thorndike animal” (blind trial and error); end of experiment = showed insight Conclusion: large amount of experience needed before insight develops The Role of Analysis and Experience in Failure to Solve the Nine-Dot Problem  Weisberg and Alba o Research 1: Gave college students 9 dot problem with a hint (had to draw beyond boundaries of square)  Findings: Most people drew lines beyond boundaries = broke fixation on square  25% solved the problem; took them 11+ additional attempts to do so o Research 2: Gave college students connect-the-dots problems to practice drawing lines outside the shape before being presented with 9 dot problem  Finding: 46% able to solve 9 dot problem  Lung and Dominowski o Research 3: Gave participants 6 practice problems before 9 dot problem + strategy instructions (provided info about logic of constructing a solution)  Findings: 60% solved 9 dot problem; took 8+ attempts to do so  Overall Conclusion: for most people, solving 9 dot problem requires a large amount of relevant info (even then, not all solve); we do not see a sudden Aha! Experience where solution reached as integrated whole; fixation is not simply blocking the solution from occurring  MacGregor, Ormerod, and Chronicle o Analyzed 9 dot problem from cognitive perspective, looked at heuristic methods that might be applied and planning capacities needed to carry out such methods o Research 4: designed new versions of 9 dot problem, structured so participant did not have to imagine as many lines in advance  Findings: solution much more frequent  Conclusions:  most people don’t have a large enough working-memory capacity to go beyond the maximum-coverage strategy (not able to imagine in advance the consequences of carrying out their chosen strategy)  fixation isn’t what makes the problem difficult  Lavric and Colleagues wrong, planning is important in solution of insight problems o Correlational study by Murray and Byrne found people who performed best on set of insight problems also performed well on working-memory capacity test  Limitations: no actual measure of the visual working memory capacities of participants (training working memory capacity may increase performance on problem; only indirect support of this) Analysis as the Basis for Aha! Experiences  Perkins’s Studies of Insight o Research: Presented Antique Coin problem; when solved, asked to provide immediate retrospective protocol (immediate + simply reporting + practice in making reports = minimal error in self-reports)  Findings: One participant reported leap of isight/Aha! the other used analysis in a series of steps (weak method of reasoning through the information and what it implied) two thought processes very similar Neither reached impasse or restructured the problem  Conclusions: One can have an Aha! Experience during problem solving as the result of analysis of the problem sometimes we use reasoning to work out consequences of state of affairs and other times we can realize the consequences directly Insight and Analysis aren’t’ different thought processes  POSSIBLE Limitations: Schooler and Colleagues Verbal overshadowing of insight: producing verbal protocols interference with solution of insight problems BUT! Difficult to replicate o Research 2:  Conclusions:  Analytic Problems (Reasonable) – can be solved through reasoning and other analytic methods  Insight problems (Unreasonable) – cannot be solved using conventional reasoning o Need to use “breakthrough” thought processes that can deal with unique structure of insight problems  Further Evidence for Analytic-Based Solution of Insight Problems o Fleck and Weisberg  Research 3: The Triangle Problem Findings: a large majority of participants solved the problem, often through one of 2 types of heuristically based analysis: o Numerical Analysis – counting & using logical analysis to try to deduce solution from info given in problem; hill climbing strategy o Perceptual Analysis – seemed to be looking at the outcomes of the moves they made, trying to see what could be done next; visual hill-climbing heuristic o None of participants had Aha! moment Conclusions: insight problems can be solved through application of weak methods, without restructuring  Overall Limitation: One can argue that these were not true insight problems because of the absence of restructuring Restructuring and Insight Based on Analysis  Analytic Processes in Restructuring in the Candle Problem (Fleck and Weisberg) o First step people take is to search their knowledge about attaching things to walls o Question doesn’t ask for solutions that involve the box (rational not to think to use it)  Restructuring occurs through analytic Processes: inadequacies in a solution and information from them stimulates further analysis of the problem  different way of looking at the problem  Candle too heavy for glue  what can hold the candle but isn’t too heavy for the glue  a shelf  what could be used as a shelf?  The box! o Functional-fixedness  If the box is presented as a container in both conditions (long or short tacks) then functional fixedness should occur equally in both  According to cognitive-analytic view:  If tacks in box are short, people realize more often that they won’t be useful therefore leading them to look for alternative solution  Restructuring Based on Analysis in the Trees Problem (Fleck and Weisberg) o Finding: Small minority solved; all through analysis  Logical reasoning and trial and error  Those who didn’t solve used same processes, simply hit upon the wrong shape o Conclusions:  Weak analytic methods can result in the restructuring of a problem  The lack of an Aha! Experience doesn’t mean that restructuring has not occurred  Solving an insight problem through restructuring doesn’t mean solution has come about through nonanalytic processes Top down Processes in Restructuring Based on Analysis  Participants used what they knew about the objects in the problems to make judgments about the adequacy of solutions and determine how inadequacies might be dealt with An Elaboration of the Cognitive-Analytic Model to Deal with Restructuring and Insight  Insight problems and Analytic problems are subjectively very different o Doesn’t imply different underlying cognitive processes  Cognitive-analysis perspective: Stages in solving a problem through analysis + restructuring arising from analysis Table 6.5 pg. 326


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