This presentation discusses recent evidence supporting the hypothesis that contrast/contrariety/opposition facilitates visuo-spatial problem solving processes by prompting problem solvers to focus, at different moments, on one or more aspects of a problem and to consider whether the state of things is as they mentally visualize it or if the solution might require transforming this state into its opposite. In the first part of the presentation we briefly review studies that have discussed or empirically tested the role of counterfactual reasoning in cognitive abilities (Juhos et al., 2015; Murray & Byrne, 2013), such as inductive and deductive reasoning (Evans 2002, 2007), hypothesis testing (Gale & Ball, 2009, 2012) and creative and divergent thinking as applied to problem-solving (Alexander, 2012; Rothenberg, 1996). In the second part of the presentation, we focus on the results of two studies aimed at testing whether providing contraries as an implicit hint (Branchini et al., 2015) or as an explicit training method (Branchini et al., 2016) would improve problem solving abilities. In both studies participants were required to analyze the spatial features of problems and verbally list them and their corresponding opposites before embarking on the search for the solution. Performance, in terms of success rates, the time needed to find the solution and behavior during the search phase, was improved in both studies. These findings are discussed with reference to the fact that a key difficulty with insight problems is that people usually encounter an “impasse” phase (i.e., a state of mind in which one does not know what to do next) resulting from the initial representation of the problem, which “constrains” the options available and thus limits the area within which the search for a solution occurs. These impasses can be overcome by a representational change (Knoblich et al., 2001; Öllinger et al., 2008) and thinking in opposites can stimulate this. The role of visuo-spatial processes versus the linguistic elicitation of opposites required by the tasks is also discussed.

Can contraries facilitate insight solutions in problem solving?

BRANCHINI, Erika;SAVARDI, Ugo;
2017-01-01

Abstract

This presentation discusses recent evidence supporting the hypothesis that contrast/contrariety/opposition facilitates visuo-spatial problem solving processes by prompting problem solvers to focus, at different moments, on one or more aspects of a problem and to consider whether the state of things is as they mentally visualize it or if the solution might require transforming this state into its opposite. In the first part of the presentation we briefly review studies that have discussed or empirically tested the role of counterfactual reasoning in cognitive abilities (Juhos et al., 2015; Murray & Byrne, 2013), such as inductive and deductive reasoning (Evans 2002, 2007), hypothesis testing (Gale & Ball, 2009, 2012) and creative and divergent thinking as applied to problem-solving (Alexander, 2012; Rothenberg, 1996). In the second part of the presentation, we focus on the results of two studies aimed at testing whether providing contraries as an implicit hint (Branchini et al., 2015) or as an explicit training method (Branchini et al., 2016) would improve problem solving abilities. In both studies participants were required to analyze the spatial features of problems and verbally list them and their corresponding opposites before embarking on the search for the solution. Performance, in terms of success rates, the time needed to find the solution and behavior during the search phase, was improved in both studies. These findings are discussed with reference to the fact that a key difficulty with insight problems is that people usually encounter an “impasse” phase (i.e., a state of mind in which one does not know what to do next) resulting from the initial representation of the problem, which “constrains” the options available and thus limits the area within which the search for a solution occurs. These impasses can be overcome by a representational change (Knoblich et al., 2001; Öllinger et al., 2008) and thinking in opposites can stimulate this. The role of visuo-spatial processes versus the linguistic elicitation of opposites required by the tasks is also discussed.
insight, problem solving, contraries
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/963876
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