Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 3 June 2010

Nature of Insight II

The Nature of Insight, Sternberg & Davidson, Editors © 1996 The MIT Press | Epilogue – Schooler et al.

How Impasses are Overcome — there seem to be a lot of ways to resolve being stuck 🙂

  • Improving Solving Recognition
  • Deemphasizing Problem Elements
  • Forgetting
  • Changing Context
  • Accessing Appropriate Problem Elements
    • Cues in the Environment
    • Unconscious Retrieval
  • Searching for a New Problem Representation
  • Recognizing That One is Lost
  • Attributes Associated with the Ability to find Alternative Approaches
  • Perseverance
  • Risk Taking
  • Playfulness
  • Broad Knowledge
  • The Ability to Recognize Analogies

Will come back to this… probably simply because I no longer feel stuck in some senses. The other stuff cannot become unstuck until I start to work.

The Flash of Insight: Overcoming an Impasse and Sudden Solution

  • p576: “..the sources of the suddenness of insight are closely aligned with those associated with suddenness of various perceptual processes.”
    • MacMahon: Perception|Cognition analogues possible? when and how? – ref in [unfinished]Sublime/Labyrinth paper.
  • Further Evidence for the Perceptual Nature of Insight
    • Schooler et al: 1993 Individual difference study – “…it appears that the suddenness of insight and perception may be associated with some share cognitive processes.”
      • My bottom line question is – if recognizing an out of focus picture “is facilitated by a simple cue” [same pg] like the name of the picture [p571] – hasn’t it already moved from perceptual to cognitive anyway-even if unconscious cognitive processing? It’s definitely not perceptual in a say, simply Gestalt sense of filling in the lines or separately seeing round, yellow and moving as one object. So… then it doesn’t really ground a perceptual basis for Insight?  It seems to me that there is a hierarchy – while perception can be subsumed under cognition it cannot be the other way around and introducing a concept that influences your manifold of ‘what a thing is’ is not just perceptual.  I suppose the question is what kind of simple cue…1
  • Potential Shared Sources of Suddenness in Perception and Insight
    • Not consciously mediated… really should finish reading everything before I write 🙂 Still, I have some latent issue with this that I can’t quite put my finger on now.
      • p577: [Gruber (Chapter 12) notes in drawing his analogy between insight and perceptual gap filling, both visual recognition and sudden insight share a “non-mediated quality…. That is, no intermediate process is detachable in conscious experience”]
        • OK, maybe my issue is at bottom because they are talking about normal people, lol. Not someone who repeatedly attempts to immerse themselves in an aware way [whatever that means] in the minutiae of  ‘problem solving’ within the creative process.  Remember, this is specifically why I like to do things that I know are new or have some degree of recognisable difficulty for me.  I know there are steps there as I am working [usually on something else – like a slowmo version of the description used for revelatory experience in CPREA where I am sometimes aware of  process of the imagery coming together] be damned if I could delineate that in any useful fashion though.  Something to think about though… erm, when finally working.
    • Coherence
      • “Oh, of course, it is a ___.”  Gestalt.
      • p579: “…suggests that memory is remarkable attuned to patterns of information in the environment in a manner comparable to that with which perception is sensitive to the invariances in the physical world.”
        • Problem: Gestalt basically adds things that are not really there in order to resolve incompleteness in a pattern. [Yes, yes… I know this is an oversimplfication]. This becomes a problem in the analogy to cognitive information processing re the truth value of the added information.  Seems to me there is more of a probability of a completion error if applied to a ‘conceptual’ problem.  Then again, I think there are limits to the possible coherent patterns even in language and meaning. — I hope I remember what the hell I’m taking about when I next come back to this. 

Relating Insight to Other Types of Thought — is this Insight indistinguishable from other types of problem solving.

  •  Noninsight Problem Solving – having problems with this section… Which are answered by the next section, I suppose.
    • Insight: approach-recognition
    • Noninsight: approach-execution
  • Hybrid Problem Solving
    • “work[ing] out the details”
    • “alternation between the approach recognition skills… and approach-execution skills”

Using the Wrong Cue at the Wrong Time

  • Verbal Overshadowing…
    • have a lot of reading to do to refamiliarize with literature… or maybe not.2 


1 This is the ever-present problem though isn’t it? Within these states, just what gets classified as which kind of process and further that – can any of these constitute knowledge of a thing? – Then again a distinction at this point just might be unimportant at this point if all lumped under the ‘quasi-cognitive’ state of Free Harmony.

2 This [meaning my own reference reading even] I suppose will be compensated for in August when I get to do some purely physical work without interference. YAy! for Phillip.


  1. […] continue How Impasses are Overcome tomorrow… […]

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