Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Ivan K. Ash

Committee Member

Jing Chen

Committee Member

Yusuke Yamani


Currently, there are two main views on insightful problem solving. Results of the studies supporting “business-as-usual” theory suggest that the processes involved in solving insight problems are the same as in analytical problem solving—slow, controlled, and effortful, while findings of the studies supporting the restructuring theory of insight suggest involvement of fast and automatic, one-trial-learning type of processes. The goal of the current study was to investigate the construct validity of the Aha! ratings, used in many studies as the measure of insight, by isolating its three components, effort, confidence, and suddenness, and examining their correlation with working memory span. Ninety-eight undergraduate students from a Southeastern university completed reading and operational span tasks, as well as the compound remote associates task. Self-reported ratings of Effort, Confidence, and Suddenness were collected individually for each compound remote associates set. Correlations between the three ratings were low to moderate; Cohen’s kappa used to measure pair-wise agreement between the ratings was below .80 for each pair; Cronbach’s alpha demonstrated low internal consistency. Of the three components, only Suddenness correlated with working memory capacity. Suddenness also correlated with the difficulty of the problem.


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