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   2012, Vol. 44 Issue (1) : 1-13     DOI:
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Competition and Emotion Impact on Effect of Prototype Elicitation during Insight Problem Solving
LI Ya-Dan;MA Wen-Juan;LUO Jun-Long;ZHANG Qing-Lin
(School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China)
(Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality (Southwest University), Ministry of Education, Chongqing 400715, China)
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Abstract  The cognitive mechanism of insight remains largely unknown and there are different theories to explain it. On the basis of previous studies and views, Zhang Qinglin proposed that the heuristic theory of prototypal matters in insight problem solving, which can be regarded as creative problem solving under experimental conditions. In addition, many previous relevant studies had revealed inconsistent results of the impact of competition and emotion on creative thinking. Based on the “prototype elicitation” theory, the present study was designed to explore the dynamic effects of competition and emotion on the mechanism of insight problem solving by using traditional Chinese logogriphs.
This study adopted a four-stage experimental paradigm. First, we created different competitive levels of experimental situation; second, the participants were asked to learn the prototypal logogriph; third, participants’ emotion of different valences were induced; and fourth, participants were required to complete the target logogriph test. In the experiment, the 4(high, medium, low competitive level vs. without competition) ×3 (positive, neutral vs. negative emotion) experimental designs were adopted. The materials used in the present study were seventy emotional images taken from Chinese Affective Picture System (CAPS) and seventy pairs of medium-difficulty Chinese logogriphs. The results showed that: 1) the prototype elicitation effect of successful logogriph problem solving was effected significantly by the competitive levels (F (3,64)=16. 921, p<0. 001). Specifically, low intensity competitive level was most favorable to the prototype elicitation, moderate and high intensity was next, and under the condition of no competition was the worst. 2) the prototype elicitation effect of successful logogriph problem solving was also effected significantly by the induced emotions (F (2,65)=14. 118, p<0. 001) . Specifically, negative and neutral emotion inspired better prototype elicitation effect than positive emotion. 3)the interaction effects of with/without competition and emotion valence were significant on the prototype elicitation effect of successful logogriph problem solving (F (1,67)=3. 493, p<0. 05). The prototype elicitation effect of negative emotion was best without competition, the neutral emotion was next, and the positive emotion was the worst; But with competition, the prototype elicitation effect of neutral emotion was best, the negative emotion was next, and the positive emotion was the worst.
These results show that neither high nor low arousal level can promote insight problem solving but proper arousal level has a positive effect on it. These also suggest that the mediating role of motivation factors and the reciprocal effect brought by the competition and emotion on the mechanism of prototype elicitation effect. However, the mechanisms of these effects are not known yet, and more researches about the impact factors of competition and emotion on the mechanism of insight problem solving are required.
Keywords insight      prototype elicitation      logogriph of Chinese characters      emotion      competitive intensity     
Corresponding Authors: ZHANG Qing-Lin   
Issue Date: 28 January 2012
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LI Ya-Dan
MA Wen-Juan
LUO Jun-Long
ZHANG Qing-Lin
Cite this article:   
LI Ya-Dan,MA Wen-Juan,LUO Jun-Long, et al. Competition and Emotion Impact on Effect of Prototype Elicitation during Insight Problem Solving[J]. , 2012, 44(1): 1-13.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2012/V44/I1/1
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