The remnants of insight

Tom Ormerod, Evie Fioratou, Ed Chronicle, Jim MacGregor

Research output: Contribution to conferenceUnpublished paperpeer-review


What remains after individuals encounter solutions to insight problems determines whether they can solve the same or similar problems on another occasion. We propose that insight problems are amenable to re-solving if they allow the recoding of a single and executable solution principle. Analysis of non-naïve participants tackling the nine-dot problem showed that many recalled only part of the solution and reverted to a hill-climbing heuristic when attempts to apply solution knowledge failed. In Experiment 1, naïve participants failed to transfer solution knowledge to a spatial variant of the cheap necklace problem even with a hint to do so. In Experiment 2, spatial variants of the six-coin problem gave similar solution rates but differing reproduction rates. We discuss the results in terms of the role of prior knowledge and the place of restructuring in insight problem-solving.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventThe 28th Annual Meeting of Cognitive Science - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 26 Jul 2006 → …


ConferenceThe 28th Annual Meeting of Cognitive Science
Period26/07/06 → …


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