The interpretative heuristic in insight problem solving

Mind and Society 13 (1):97-108 (2014)
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The study of insight problem solving could well become one of the most important topics in the contemporary debate on thought. Dealing with insight problems today requires of necessity reconsidering the concept of bounded rationality. Simon’s work has inspired us to reflect on the specific quality of the type of boundaries which, by limiting the search, allow and guarantee the act of creativity; finding the solution to insight problems is emblematic of this creativity and provides a paradigmatic case. According to Simon, the solution to insight problems requires a search for an alternative space. He considered the “Notice Invariants Heuristic” to be a powerful tool for focusing this search which must always be guided by salience. Therefore, in the case of insight problems the heuristic is not a weak method of solving problems; indeed, it is the only way, an innovative and creative approach to reach the solution. In our view, the solution to these problems is not attained by abstraction, but only by a pertinent interpretation of the context (interpretative heuristic) in the light of the goal, allowing the problem solver to abandon the default representation. We therefore propose that this interpretative heuristic is inherent to all insight problem solving processes and, in more general terms, is an adaptive characteristic of the human cognitive system; this of course implies that the dual process theory will have to be challenged and discussed.



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Differentiating insight from non-insight problems.K. J. Gilhooly & P. Murphy - 2005 - Thinking and Reasoning 11 (3):279 – 302.
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