Insight is a term that is derived from Middle English expressions such as “inner sight, mental vision, [and] wisdom” (“Insight,” n.d.). According to the Oxford Dictionaries, the technical term for insight is “the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing” (“Insight,” n.d.). Insight is gravely important in regards to problem solving and creative thinking. It is indeed a concept that holds much value in the psychological community and is said to be “essential” to creative thinking (Qinglin, Jiang, & Guikang, 2004). The essence of the phrase ‘insight problem solving’ can be further explained as when a “problem solver fails to see how to solve a problem and then – ‘aha!’ – there is a sudden realization how to solve it” (Jones, 2003). When referring to insight, it is not that the problem solver received a miraculous idea from out of nowhere; the problem solver simply had a brief moment where he or she was completely unaware as to how a solution can be found. Therefore, “the problem solver was competent enough to accomplish the task to begin with” and they simply needed a moment to come up with a solution (Jones, 2003). Moreover, that is where the research and questions in regards to insight play a vital role in the cognitive field of psychology. The question that insight brings to light is, what happens in the mental process of an individual who becomes “stuck” and suddenly they gain insight and are able to create a solution (Jones, 2003)? As one can see, insight is a concept that is significant in cognitive psychology.
There is a lot of confusion in regards to the distinction between the process of insight and the general phenomenon of it and that can be one of the major reasons as to why some individuals may believe that it is futile to research it any further (Caspar, & Berger, 2007). A perfect example of the novel idea is when a “cartoonist … show[s] a gleaming light bulb above a person’s head” (Matlin, 2013). Although, when a person solves an insight problem it seems as though they had a flash of brilliance, insight focuses on the process by which the person arrived at the idea that they consider to be ingenious. As Matlin states, when a person is faced with “an insight problem, the problem initially seems impossible to solve, but then an alternative approach suddenly bursts into your consciousness. You immediately realize that your new solution is correct” (Matlin, 2013). In addition to that, Matlin explains:
According to psychologists who favor this concept of insight, people who are working on an insight problem usually hold some incorrect assumptions when they begin to solve the problem. In other words, top-down processing inappropriately dominated your thinking, and you were considering the wrong set of alternatives. (Matlin, 2013)
To reiterate, the problem solver is indeed “competent enough” to solve the problem placed before him or her because a solution was found (Jones, 2003). However, the...