Individual differences associated with insight and insight problem solving
AuthorWebb, Margaret Elizabeth
AffiliationMelbourne School of Psychological Sciences
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is embargoed and will be available on 2021-03-18. This item is currently available to University of Melbourne staff and students only, login required.
© 2018 Dr. Margaret Elizabeth Webb
The current thesis investigates individual differences that are associated with insight. Traditionally, this research question has been tested by measuring the associations between measures of individual difference of interest (e.g., fluid intelligence, creativity, etc.), and the ability to solve “insight problems.” We firstly explore the result of this trend (Chapter 3), investigating the role of convergent thinking, divergent thinking, and schizotypy in insight and non-insight problem solving. Results indicate that convergent thinking (the ability to solve problems) is the strongest and most reliable predictor of insight problem-solving abilities. Two questions are raised by the use of accuracy as an indicator of insight processes: to what extent are aha experiences and accuracy related, and how reliably can insight problems elicit experiences of insight. We investigate the relationship between problem-solving success (accuracy) and insight (Chapter 4), and the reliability of insight problems in eliciting insight (Chapter 5). We found a positive relationship between correctly solved insight problems and ratings of insight phenomenology (e.g., aha experience, pleasure). While the tendency for insight problems to elicit insight was marginally reliable, this reliability was substantially greater when calculating reliability of ratings of aha experience in correctly solved problems only. The importance of accuracy in experiencing insight emphasised an issue that was consistent throughout the thesis: the necessity for problem-solving abilities in order to solve insight problems and thus elicit the feeling of insight. In Chapter 6, we explore the role of divergent thinking, convergent thinking, and schizotypy in the tendency to report the experience of insight in the problem- solving process. We found that including accuracy in the model as a predictor of aha experience shifted the ability of particular individual difference variables (i.e., divergent thinking and positive schizotypy) to predict aha experiences. Finally, we explore some methodological considerations that occurred during the course of the thesis: namely, the effect of feedback on insight experiences (Chapter 7), and the possibility of using tasks that overlap less with convergent thinking abilities to assess the experience of insight (Chapter 8). We found that feedback increased aha experiences when the solution was unknown, and decreased aha experiences when the solution was known. We also found that responses to the alternative uses task were able to elicit aha experiences: as in Chapter 7, we found that generating a use was significantly more likely to result in a reported aha experience than being presented with a use. Exploring individual difference measures, we found that individuals who scored high in positive schizotypy were more likely to report aha experiences, and to rate rare uses as more meaningful (practical). In all, the current thesis explores individual differences associated with the ability to solve insight problems, the tendency to experience insight in problem solving, and some of the methodical considerations required when using insight problems. We found that (1) convergent thinking predicts problem-solving accuracy, (2) accuracy and insight experiences are strongly tied, and (3) when holding accuracy constant, or eliminating it as a necessary part of the paradigm, positive schizotypy predicts tendency to report experiences of insight.
Keywordsinsight; insight problem solving; divergent thinking; convergent thinking; schizotypy; creativity; aha experience
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