ERIC Number: EJ1088541
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
Incubation Provides Relief from Artificial Fixation in Problem Solving
Penaloza, Alan A.; Calvillo, Dustin P.
Creativity Research Journal, v24 n4 p338-344 2012
An incubation effect occurs when taking a break from a problem helps solvers arrive at the correct solution more often than working on it continuously. The forgetting-fixation account, a popular explanation of how incubation works, posits that a break from a problem allows the solver to forget the incorrect path to the solution and finally access the correct path. This study tested the forgetting-fixation account using a trial-by-trial method on a sample of 152 native English speakers who were asked to solve 12 remote associate tests (RATs). During the first attempt, participants in the fixation condition were presented with misleading clues, and those in the no-fixation condition were not. At the completion of the first attempt for each RAT, half of the fixation and half of the no-fixation participants read an article for 2 min before attempting to solve the RAT for the second time, but the other halves worked on each RAT continuously. As predicted by the forgetting-fixation account, only in the fixation condition did participants who read an article perform better than those who worked on them continuously. Moreover, fixated participants performed better than nonfixated participants, and this differential effect was only evident in the incubation condition.
Descriptors: Problem Solving, Scores, Psychology, Teaching Methods, Creativity, Recall (Psychology), Memory, Cues, Predictor Variables, Creative Thinking, Undergraduate Study, Undergraduate Students, Associative Learning, Prior Learning, Native Language
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California