Cunningham, J.B., MacGregor, J.N., Gibb, J.L. & Haar, J.M. (2009). Categories of insight and their correlates: An exploration of relationships among classic-type insight problems, rebus puzzles, remote associates and esoteric analogies. Journal of Creative Behavior, 43(4), 262-280.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3857
A central question in creativity concerns how insightful ideas emerge. Anecdotal examples of insightful scientific and technical discoveries include Goodyear's discovery of the vulcanization of rubber, and Mendeleev's realization that there may be gaps as he tried to arrange the elements into the Periodic Table. Although most people would regard these discoveries as insightful, cognitive psychologists have had difficulty in agreeing on whether such ideas resulted from insights or from conventional problem solving processes. One area of wide agreement among psychologists is that insight involves a process of restructuring. If this view is correct, then understanding insight and its role in problem solving will depend on a better understanding of restructuring and the characteristics that describe it. This article proposes and tests a preliminary classification of insight problems based on several restructuring characteristics: the need to redefine spatial assumptions, the need to change defined forms, the degree of misdirection involved, the difficulty in visualizing a possible solution, the number of restructuring sequences in the problem, and the requirement for figure-ground type reversals. A second purpose of the study was to compare performance on classic spatial insight problems with two types of verbal tests that may be related to insight, the Remote Associates Test (RAT), and rebus puzzles. In doing so, we report on the results of a survey of 172 business students at the University of Waikato in New Zealand who completed classic-type insight, RAT and rebus problems.
Creative Education Foundation
This article has been published in the journal: Journal of Creative Behavior. Used with permission.