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ERIC Number: EJ1116148
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1932-6246
The Self-Organization of Insight: Entropy and Power Laws in Problem Solving
Stephen, Damian G.; Dixon, James A.
Journal of Problem Solving, v2 n1 Article 6 p72-101 Jul 2008
Explaining emergent structure remains a challenge for all areas of cognitive science, and problem solving is no exception. The modern study of insight has drawn attention to the issue of emergent cognitive structure in problem solving research. We propose that the explanation of insight is beyond the scope of conventional approaches to cognitive science in terms of symbolic representation. Cognition may be better described in terms of an open, nonlinear dynamical system. By this reasoning, insight would be the self-organization of novel structure. Self-organization is a well-studied phenomenon of dynamical systems theory, associated with specific trends in entropy and power-law behavior. We present work using nonlinear dynamics to capture these trends in entropy and power-law behavior and thus to predict the self-organization of novel cognitive structure in a problem-solving task. Future explorations of problem solving will benefit from considerations of the continuous nonlinear interactions among action, cognition, and the environment.
Purdue University Press. Stewart Center Room 370, 504 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907. Tel: 800-247-6553; Fax: 419-281-6883; e-mail: pupress@purdue,edu; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: BCS0643271