An Experimental Comparison of Approaches to Training Insight

James N. MacGregor 1 , John Barton Cunningham 2  and Jennifer Walinga 3
  • 1 University of Victoria, , Canada
  • 2 University of Victoria, , Canada
  • 3 Royal Roads University, , Canada


The purpose of the research was to investigate different types of training in insight problem solving. In doing so, we reviewed the literature on experimental tests of procedures for training insight problem solving. The results revealed that most procedures focused either on restructuring or divergent thinking, and provided some evidence for the effectiveness of both approaches. However, we found no studies that compared the effects of the two approaches. The article reports two experiments that compared different training procedures based on restructuring and divergent thinking. For the latter, the methods focused separately on fluency, flexibility and originality training. The first experiment compared a restructuring approach with fluency training and a placebo control condition. The results indicated that the restructuring training was significantly more effective than the others, but only when instructions were verbal, not in script form. The second experiment compared restructuring training with flexibility, fluency and originality training, all presented in script form, and the results indicated that the restructuring training was significantly more effective than both fluency training and flexibility training. Implications for future research are discussed.

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