Insight: On the Origins of New Ideas, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


On the Origins of New Ideas, 1st Edition

Edited by Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau


218 pages | 27 B/W Illus.

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Research on insight problem solving examines how new ideas are generated to solve problems that initially resist the application of prior knowledge or analogue solutions. In the laboratory, insight problems are designed to create an impasse; overcoming the impasse is sometimes accompanied by a distinctive phenomenological experience, the so-called Aha! moment. Insight: On the Origins of New Ideas presents research that captures these episodes of insight under laboratory conditions and informs models that account for their emergence.

Descriptions and analyses of episodes of discovery both in and out of the laboratory are included to provide a general overview of insight. Featuring contributions from leading researchers, the volume debates the relative importance of intelligence and working memory, the development of an alternative interpretation of the problem based on deliberate analyses and heuristics, and unconscious inferences in the emergence of insight. These discussions generate new testable hypotheses to shed light on the cognitive processes underpinning insight, along with concrete methodological recommendations that, together, map a productive programme of future research.

This book will be of interest to students and researchers of thinking and reasoning - specifically those interested in insight and creative problem solving.


"The papers in this book reflect renewed attention to an old problem; how can we understand the nature of insight? What drives the occurrence of those "Aha!" moments of breakthroughs in problem solving? Since the Gestalt psychologists first addressed the issue, there have been numerous attempts to answer it. Here, we see thoughtful new approaches -- in theory development, in methodological approach, and in the scope of problems and situations examined. The book is replete with suggestions for future research and points the way toward new cognitive understandings of insight. --Ryan D. Tweney, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Bowling Green State University"

Table of Contents


    Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau

    1 The dialectic between routine and creative cognition

    Stellan Ohlsson

    2 Whose insight is it anyway?

    Edward M. Bowden and Kristin Grunewald

    3 Magic tricks, sudden restructuring, and the Aha! experience: a new model of nonmonotonic problem solving

    Amory H. Danek

    4 When does higher working memory capacity help or hinder insight problem solving?

    Marci S. DeCaro

    5 Working memory in insight problem solving

    Ken Gilhooly and Margaret E. Webb

    6 The relationship of insight problem solving to analytical thinking: evidence from psychometric studies

    Adam Chuderski and Jan Jastrzębski

    7 Breaking past the surface: remote analogical transfer as creative insight

    Tim George and Jennifer Wiley

    8 An ecological perspective on insight problem solving

    Sune Vork Steffensen and Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau

    9 Insight, problem solving, and creativity: an integration of findings

    Robert W. Weisberg

About the Editor

Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau is Professor of Psychology at Kingston University, UK.

About the Series

Current Issues in Thinking and Reasoning

Current Issues in Thinking and Reasoning is a series of edited books which will reflect the state of the art in areas of current and emerging interest in the psychological study of thinking processes.

Each volume will be tightly focussed on a particular topic and will consist of from seven to ten chapters contributed by international experts. The editors of individual volumes will be leading figures in their areas and will provide an introductory overview.

Example topics include thinking and working memory, visual imagery in problem solving, evolutionary approaches to thinking, cognitive processes in planning, creative thinking, decision making processes, pathologies of thinking, individual differences, neuropsychological approaches and applications of thinking research.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology