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Front Psychol ; 9: 1404, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30150953


When we are confronted with a new problem, we typically try to apply strategies that have worked in the past and which usually lead closer to the solution incrementally. However, sometimes, either during a problem-solving attempt that does not seem to lead closer to the solution, or when we have given up on problem-solving for the moment, the solution seems to appear out of nowhere. This is often called a moment of insight. Whereas the cognitive processes of getting closer to the solution are still unknown for insight problem-solving, there are two diverging theories on the subjective feeling of getting closer to the solution: (1) One that states that an intuitive feeling of closeness to the solution increases slowly, but incrementally, before it surpasses the threshold to consciousness and becomes verbalizable (=insight) (continuous approach), and (2) another that proposes that the feeling of closeness to the solution does not increase before it exceeds the threshold to consciousness (discontinuous approach). Here, we investigated the subjective feeling of closeness to the solution, assessed as feeling-of-warmth (FoW), its relationship to solving the problem versus being presented with it and whether a feeling of Aha! was experienced. Additionally, we tested whether Aha! experiences are more likely when the problem is solved actively by the participant or presented to the participant after an unsuccessful problem-solving attempt, and whether the frequency of Aha! experiences correlates with problem difficulty. To our knowledge, this is the first study combining the CRAT with FoW assessments for the named conditions (solved/unsolved, three difficulty levels, Aha!/no Aha!). We used a verbal problem-solving task, the Compound Remote Associates Task (CRAT). Our data revealed that Aha! experiences were more often reported for solutions generated by the participant compared to solutions presented after unsuccessful problem-solving. Moreover, FoW curves showed a steeper increase for the last two FoW ratings when problems were solved with Aha! in contrast to without Aha!. Based on this observation, we provide a preliminary explanation for the underlying cognitive process of solving CRA problems via insight.