The importance of contraries in human cognition has been widely investigated in Cognitive Sciences. Contraries constitute a key structure in spatial perception (Bianchi & Savardi, 2000; Bianchi, Savardi, & Kubovy, 2011; Casasola, 2005, 2008) and studies in psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics and semantics have emphasized the existence of an antonymic structure common all natural languages (e.g. Croft & Cruse, 2004; Jones, 2002; Jones, Murphy, Paradis & Willners, 2012; Miller & Fellbaum, 1991; Murphy, 2003). Contrariety is also fundamental to various other cognitive abilities related to reasoning, for example hypothesis testing (i.e. inductive reasoning ;Evans, 2007; Politiek, 2001; Gale & Ball, 2006, 2009, 2012), deductive reasoning (Evans, Handley, Harper, Johnson-Laird, 1999;), divergent and productive thinking as applied to problem-solving (Branchini, Burro, Bianchi & Savardi, 2015; Wertheimer, 1945) and understanding humour (Canestrari & Bianchi, 2012, 2013; Colston & O’Brien, 2000; Cundal, 2007). We carried out two studies in order to investigate the hypothesis that opposites/contraries/contrasts might be of some help in overcoming an impasse in visuo-spatial insight problem solving. In study 1 (with 120 participants divided in 80 inter-observational groups) opposites acted as hints; in study 2 participants (with 136 in individual participation condition and 120 in group participation condition) there was a specific training program based on the explicit manipulation of contraries. The results demonstrate that contraries positively affected the search for a solution process in terms of number of correct solutions and the behaviour of the participants. The use of contraries acted as a cognitive heuristic permitting perceptual constraints to be relaxed while at the same time expanding the search space in such a way that there was not a haphazard multiplication and the participants focused on properties which were relevant to the solution.

Contraries stimulate insight in spatial problem solving

BRANCHINI, Erika;BIANCHI, Ivana;BURRO, Roberto;SAVARDI, Ugo
2016

Abstract

The importance of contraries in human cognition has been widely investigated in Cognitive Sciences. Contraries constitute a key structure in spatial perception (Bianchi & Savardi, 2000; Bianchi, Savardi, & Kubovy, 2011; Casasola, 2005, 2008) and studies in psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics and semantics have emphasized the existence of an antonymic structure common all natural languages (e.g. Croft & Cruse, 2004; Jones, 2002; Jones, Murphy, Paradis & Willners, 2012; Miller & Fellbaum, 1991; Murphy, 2003). Contrariety is also fundamental to various other cognitive abilities related to reasoning, for example hypothesis testing (i.e. inductive reasoning ;Evans, 2007; Politiek, 2001; Gale & Ball, 2006, 2009, 2012), deductive reasoning (Evans, Handley, Harper, Johnson-Laird, 1999;), divergent and productive thinking as applied to problem-solving (Branchini, Burro, Bianchi & Savardi, 2015; Wertheimer, 1945) and understanding humour (Canestrari & Bianchi, 2012, 2013; Colston & O’Brien, 2000; Cundal, 2007). We carried out two studies in order to investigate the hypothesis that opposites/contraries/contrasts might be of some help in overcoming an impasse in visuo-spatial insight problem solving. In study 1 (with 120 participants divided in 80 inter-observational groups) opposites acted as hints; in study 2 participants (with 136 in individual participation condition and 120 in group participation condition) there was a specific training program based on the explicit manipulation of contraries. The results demonstrate that contraries positively affected the search for a solution process in terms of number of correct solutions and the behaviour of the participants. The use of contraries acted as a cognitive heuristic permitting perceptual constraints to be relaxed while at the same time expanding the search space in such a way that there was not a haphazard multiplication and the participants focused on properties which were relevant to the solution.
insight, problem solving, contraries
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/963874
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