Interactive insight problem solving

Thinking and Reasoning 17 (4):424 - 439 (2011)
Insight problem solving was investigated with the matchstick algebra problems developed by Knoblich, Ohlsson, Haider, and Rhenius (1999). These problems are false equations expressed with Roman numerals that can be made true bymoving one matchstick. In a first group participants examined a static two-dimensional representation of the false algebraic expression and told the experimenter which matchstick should be moved. In a second group, participants interacted with a three-dimensional representation of the false equation. Success rates in the static group for different problem types replicated the pattern of data reported in Knoblich et al. (1999). However, participants in the interactive group were significantly more likely to achieve insight. Problem-solving success in the static group was best predicted by performance on a test of numeracy, whereas in the interactive group it was best predicted by performance on a test of visuo-spatial reasoning. Implications for process models of problem solving are discussed
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