Psychology -> Learning by insight
Learning by insight
Learning in humans appears to be more than a simple stimulus-response process. It involves cognition or the processing of knowledge. Learning by insight results in a cognitive change that involves the recognition of previously unseen relationships. This can occur very quickly and the solution is not easily forgotten. The main stages of insight learning are:
Preparation - This involves formulating the problem and gaining information about it.
Incubation - This is when you leave the problem for a while and consider other things. There is a pause in the learner's activity where the learner stops trying to complete the task.
Illumination - This involves insight into the problem. It is often referred to as the 'Ah-Ha experience' as the learner is suddenly able to carry out the task following the confident recognition of the solution. It is as if the light bulb is suddenly switched on.
Verification - This is when you test and evaluate possible solutions. If solutions do not work, you may go back to the incubation or preparation stages.
The earliest research on this type of learning involved a chimpanzee called Sultan. Kohler (1925) locked Sultan in a cage and placed a banana outside the cage just out of Sultan's reach. Inside the cage were two hollow bamboo sticks, both too short to reach the banana. Kohler observed Sultan trying to reach the banana, first with his arm then with each stick. He observed Sultan becoming more and more frustrated. After a while, Sultan began playing with the sticks and suddenly realised that they could be joined together to create one stick, long enough to reach the banana.
In 1925 Kohler used a chimpanzee called Sultan to test the concept of insight learning
Kohler concluded that Sultan had a flash of insight which lead him to the solution. Therefore, after a temporary period of confusion and frustration, the chimpanzee was able to recognise the solution and apply it to his problem. Kohler then referred to this type of learning as insight learning. It is also referred to as insight thinking.
Sultan fitting two sticks together