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PSY370H1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Verbal Overshadowing, Motivation, Cognitive Flexibility

Course Code
John Vervaeke
Study Guide

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Recent Insight & Neuroscience Research
October 27
Weisberg comes back and makes a
methodological critique
, saying insight research has conceptual
confusions about:
Subjective status of insight problems
how can we determine whether a “problem” actually exists?
What is a problem for Trevor may not be a problem for me (the concept isn‟t stable or objective)
a. Bowden & Jung-Beeman
Homogeneity of CLASS of insight problems:
maybe there are hybrid problems, some require search-
inference as well as insight processes. If so, our performance on “purebred” insight problems are not
Gilhooly & Murphy
how can we determine objectively what constitutes an insight problem?
Aha! Insight experience correlates w/ solution activation in the RH.
told subjects what is MEANT by “insight” & “non-insight” & the associated experiences
subjects given a bunch of non-labeled problems, told to REPORT when they are having an insight
when patients were working on problems that they reported to be associated with insight,
they showed a quick hemispheric lateralization to the RH. Across subjects, the same problems were
associated with the same reports and the same type of brain activity (lateralization)
Specifically, in the right anterior supramarginal temporal gyrus, EEG showed increased
activity almost immediately before solution
Correlates with F.O.W. data! (Metcalfe‟s feeling-of-warmth theory)
Their results were consistent & theoretically meaningful
The Theoretical Meaningfulness of Hemispheric Lateralization
To get a solution to an insight problem, we make a sudden shift to a
view of the
environment (RH), and then a quick shift BACK (LH) - probably verifying our solution.
Explanation: When 2 organisms compete, the one that wins is able to pick up on small variations & details
& can make smaller changes in his behavior -----
fine-grained & sequential processing
~ occurs in LH
Gestalty big-picture processing and response required for NOVELTY &
multiple simultaneous constraint
problems (such as being attacked by a tiger)~ occurs in RH
navon letters
(big H made up of Ss)
damaged RH will see only sssss
damaged LH will see only H

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WE see both approach a
dynamical equilibrium -
both seem to be pulling on each other
Snyder & Chi
transcranial magnetic stimulation impose lateralization shifts improve insight probsolv!
****When somebody can use previous results & theories and CAUSE/ INTERVENE in phenomena, it‟s strong
evidence for UNDERSTANDING of a phenomenon****
** insight problem-solving lateralization reflects a shift in processing
not content.
BOWDEN & JUNG-BEEMAN point out that LANGUAGE PROCESSING shows this shift as well, triggering
spikes in RH activation
garden path sentences:
the horse raced past the barn fell
shifting levels of construal
shows that “VERBAL OVERSHADOWING” is a misnomer – the problem isn‟t language in and of itself, it‟s
that a specific type of concurrent verbalization causes overshadowing. The STYLE & MANNER OF
PROCESSING is what‟s important
LANGUAGE THAT OVERSHADOWS: the kind that results in LH routine sequential processing
LANGUAGE THAT FACILITATES INSIGHT: the kind that results in shifting levels of construal, triggers spike in
RH big-picture activation.
Gilhooly & Murphy 2005 Differentiating insight from non-insight problems
if restructuring is necessary ~ it‟s an insight problem
if it‟s not necessary ~ non-insight problem
if it‟s helpful but not necessary ~ hybrid problem
cluster analysis
look for a
positive manifold
(things are mutually predictive & highly correlated)
in insight problems assumes that different problems share core processing features
o FOUND IT! Insight probs clustered strongly together, non-insight too, but less so.
o Empirical results correlate w/ a priori taxonomy for insight vs. non-insight problems
o our intuition of insight probsolv seems to reflect reality
individual differences methodology
see WHICH abilities are predictive of insight & non-insight
problem solving
cognitive flexibility
is important for insight (requires
attention shifting, inhibition of no-
longer relevant info, working memory
) facilitates
dynamical processing
(LH RH shifting)

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figure fluency task make as many shapes as possible from a dot pattern (requires gestalt 
detail switcherooing)
alternative use task - how many things can you use this object for?
Weisberg comes back again w/ Fleck IS THIS IMPORTANT???
Trying to pay attention to methodological work on verbal protocols
Lotta people have been noticing interference effects, retooling how we use concurrent verbalization
REVIEW re-design their constructions on how to engage in concurrent verbalization
Arguing against SCHOOLER‟s thing that concurrent verbalization impairs insight problem solving
Facial recognition & verbal overshadowing see faces, later describing them impairs later recognition
Macrae & Lois show that language isn‟t necessary for overshadowing in FACIAL RECOGNITION
see faces
shown something like NAVON LETTERS
a) driven to FEATURAL level (LH; sss)
b) driven to GESTALT level (RH; H)
facial recognition task
o a)
shows overshadowing
o b)
outperforms controls!! facilitation!
Schooler says it ain‟t verbal overshadowing, it‟s a
Transfer Inappropriate Processing Shift
*** Suggests that we could facilitate probsolv by changing the intervening task***
Participants presented with pictures of faces
Participants describe faces aloud
Intermediate task
o group a: do maze or listen music (MSC, pattern detection& tracking) no impairment
o group b: do another verbal task overshadowing
Facial recognition task
conclusions: group a‟s second task shifted them BACK to gestalt level
Meisner et al. 2001
More extensive & constrained/demanding verbalization task more overshadowing (inapprop processing
(extensive = asked to elaborate, be more thorough/detailed)
Allowed to be loose & associational used language that doesn‟t trigger LH activation no overshadow
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