Insight as discovery


Performance on the triangle of coins problem was observed when participants could physically change the configuration of the problem as they explored potential solutions. Participants were filmed as they worked on the problem. One group of participants could touch and move the “coins” on the screen, thereby enacting changes to the physical configuration of the problem (high interactivity) while a second group could not (low interactivity). In Experiment 1, participants could record as many possible solutions as they wished (with feedback), whereas in Experiment 2, they were limited to only one announcement; if the proposed answer was incorrect, the session was terminated. In both experiments, solution rates were generally better in the high than in the low interactivity environment, although participants were slower and made more moves before announcing their solution in the high interactivity condition of Experiment 2. Detailed analysis of the video data for the participants in the high interactivity task environment revealed a gradual appreciation of the solution, punctuated by many discontinuities in move latencies.

In Journal of Cognitive Psychology