Toward an integrated theory of insight in problem solving

Thinking and Reasoning 21 (1):5-39 (2015)
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Abstract

The study of insight in problem solving and creative thinking has seen an upsurge of interest in the last 30 years. Current theorising concerning insight has taken one of two tacks. The special-process view, which grew out of the Gestalt psychologists’ theorising about insight, proposes that insight is the result of a dedicated set of processes that is activated by the individual's reaching impasse while trying to deal with a problematic situation. In contrast, the business-as-usual view argues that insight is brought about by the same processes that underlie ordinary thinking . Although those two views are typically treated as being in opposition, it has recently been proposed that a complete understanding of insight will require bringing together aspects of both views. The present paper carries that proposal further. Critical analysis of those two viewpoints demonstrates that each has a positive contribution to make to our understanding of insight, but also is..

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