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Ekaterina Valueva 1,2
  • 1 Institute of Psychology of Russian Academy of Sciences, 13 b 1 Yaroslavskaya str., Moscow, 129366, Russian Federation
  • 2 Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, 29 Sretenka, Moscow, 127051,Russian Federation

The Role of Incubation Period in Problem Solving (in Russian)

2016. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 789–800 [issue contents]

The objective of the study was to explore the mechanisms and the role of incubation period in problem solving. The experiment was conducted in two days; the stimulus material was anagrams with two correct solutions. In the first day the subjects were shown the anagrams and one possible solution. In the second day (a week later) the participants were solving anagrams. Among anagrams there were those presented in the first day, and the neutral, the new ones. For those anagrams that were presented before, one of the possible solutions was preactivated (that the participant knew), and the other solution was the alternative one (that the participant was not shown). Solving of anagrams was divided in two stages: at first the participants tried to solve all anagrams, and then they returned to those unsolved at the first stage. Half of participants had a break between the two stages (incubation period), which was filled with solving of the Raven’s APM. The other half of participants worked with anagrams without a break. At the first stage (before the incubation) the quantity of the preactivated solutions was significantly higher, than the quantity of the alternative and the neutral answers. With that, timings of findings of preactivated and alternative solutions didn’t differ and were significantly smaller, than for findings of neutral answers. At the second stage the difference in quantity of the solved problems between the groups with and without incubation (incubation effect) was significant only for alternative solutions, findings of which at the first stage were hindered by preactivated solutions. The acquired results, on the one hand, attest to the theory of selective forgetting, and on the other hand, they show that successful incubation is possible only with the presence of activated response, which realization is hindered by the present fixations.

Citation: Valueva, E. (2016) The Role of Incubation Period in Problem Solving. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 13(4), 789-800 (in Russian)
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