Insightful problem solving is a vital part of human thinking, yet very difficult to grasp. Traditionally, insight has been investigated by using a set of established “insight tasks,” assuming that insight has taken place if these problems are solved. Instead of assuming that insight takes place during every solution of the 9 Dot, 8 Coin, and Matchstick Arithmetic Problems, this study explored the likelihood that solutions evoked the “Aha! experience,” which is often regarded as the defining characteristic of insight. It was predicted that the rates of self-reported Aha! experiences might vary based on the necessary degree of constraint relaxation. The main assumption was that the likelihood of experiencing an Aha! would decrease with increasing numbers of constraints that must be relaxed, because several steps are needed to achieve a representational change and solve the problem, and thus, the main feature of suddenness of a solution might be lacking. The results supported this prediction, and demonstrated that in many cases participants do solve these classical insight problems without any Aha! experience. These results show the importance of obtaining insight ratings from participants to determine whether any given problem is solved with insight or not.
Danek, Amory H.; Wiley, Jennifer; and Öllinger, Michael
"Solving Classical Insight Problems Without Aha! Experience: 9 Dot, 8 Coin, and Matchstick Arithmetic Problems,"
The Journal of Problem Solving: Vol. 9
, Article 4.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jps/vol9/iss1/4