Our research focuses on the hypothesis that thinking in terms of contraries might facilitate the process of representational change involved in visuo-spatial insight problem solving. In particular, we will present a series of studies aimed at investigating whether the explicit or implicit suggestion to use contraries (i.e. horizontal-vertical, up-down) during the solution process improved performance in problem solving. Italian undergraduate students (M age = 21.83 years) took part in the studies in small groups of three. In all the conditions considered, problem solvers were required to analyse the spatial features of the problems to be solved and transform them in their corresponding contraries before embarking on the search for the solution. Success rate was increased and the solution behaviours (revealed by both dialogues and the drawings they performed in the search phase) were modified when participants were explicitly prompted to use contraries, i.e., they made fewer attempts in a shorter time and in the search phase they used the contraries identified and the suggested strategy more frequently . These results show that the suggestion “to use contraries” worked better when contraries were explicitly used as part of a systematic and analytical solution approach. In relation with the contemporary debate on facilitating factors and interplay between automatic (Type 1) and conscious (Type 2) processes in changing the mental representation (thus overcoming impasse) during the solution of insight problems, these findings seem to emphasize the importance of Type 2 processes in representational change.

Contraries in insight problem solving: their role in Type 1 and Type 2 processes relating to representational change

Branchini Erika;Bianchi Ivana;Burro Roberto;Savardi Ugo
2018

Abstract

Our research focuses on the hypothesis that thinking in terms of contraries might facilitate the process of representational change involved in visuo-spatial insight problem solving. In particular, we will present a series of studies aimed at investigating whether the explicit or implicit suggestion to use contraries (i.e. horizontal-vertical, up-down) during the solution process improved performance in problem solving. Italian undergraduate students (M age = 21.83 years) took part in the studies in small groups of three. In all the conditions considered, problem solvers were required to analyse the spatial features of the problems to be solved and transform them in their corresponding contraries before embarking on the search for the solution. Success rate was increased and the solution behaviours (revealed by both dialogues and the drawings they performed in the search phase) were modified when participants were explicitly prompted to use contraries, i.e., they made fewer attempts in a shorter time and in the search phase they used the contraries identified and the suggested strategy more frequently . These results show that the suggestion “to use contraries” worked better when contraries were explicitly used as part of a systematic and analytical solution approach. In relation with the contemporary debate on facilitating factors and interplay between automatic (Type 1) and conscious (Type 2) processes in changing the mental representation (thus overcoming impasse) during the solution of insight problems, these findings seem to emphasize the importance of Type 2 processes in representational change.
contraries, insight problem solving, representational change
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/988449
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