This paper aims to test whether the use of contraries can facilitate spatial problem solving. Specifically, we examined whether a training session which included explicit guidance on thinking in contraries would improve problem solving abilities. In our study, the participants in the experimental condition were exposed to a brief training session before being presented with seven visuo-spatial problems to solve. During training it was suggested that it would help them to find the solution to the problems if they systematically transformed the spatial features of each problem into their contraries. Their performance was compared to that of a control group (who had no training). Two participation conditions were considered: small groups and individuals. Higher success rates were found in the groups exposed to training as compared to the individuals (in both the training and no training conditions), even though the time required to find a solution was longer. In general, participants made more attempts (i.e., drawings) when participating in groups than individually. The number of drawings done while the participants were trying to solve the problems did not increase after training. In order to explore if the quality (if not the number) of drawings was modified, we sampled one problem out of the seven we had used in the experiment (the "pigs in a pen" problem) and examined the drawings in detail. Differences between the training and no training conditions emerged in terms of properties focused on and transformed in the drawings. Based on these results, in the final discussion possible explanations are suggested as to why training had positive effects specifically in the group condition.

Can Contraries Prompt Intuition in Insight Problem Solving?

BRANCHINI, Erika;BURRO, Roberto;SAVARDI, Ugo
2016-01-01

Abstract

This paper aims to test whether the use of contraries can facilitate spatial problem solving. Specifically, we examined whether a training session which included explicit guidance on thinking in contraries would improve problem solving abilities. In our study, the participants in the experimental condition were exposed to a brief training session before being presented with seven visuo-spatial problems to solve. During training it was suggested that it would help them to find the solution to the problems if they systematically transformed the spatial features of each problem into their contraries. Their performance was compared to that of a control group (who had no training). Two participation conditions were considered: small groups and individuals. Higher success rates were found in the groups exposed to training as compared to the individuals (in both the training and no training conditions), even though the time required to find a solution was longer. In general, participants made more attempts (i.e., drawings) when participating in groups than individually. The number of drawings done while the participants were trying to solve the problems did not increase after training. In order to explore if the quality (if not the number) of drawings was modified, we sampled one problem out of the seven we had used in the experiment (the "pigs in a pen" problem) and examined the drawings in detail. Differences between the training and no training conditions emerged in terms of properties focused on and transformed in the drawings. Based on these results, in the final discussion possible explanations are suggested as to why training had positive effects specifically in the group condition.
contraries; contrast class; heuristics; insight; problem solving; spatial properties
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/961308
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