ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (8): 837-846.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00837

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The role of novel semantic association in the promoting effect of insight on memory

CHEN Shi1, LIANG Zheng1, LI Xianglan1, CHEN Yanran1, ZHAO Qingbai1(), YU Quanlei1(), LI Songqing1, ZHOU Zhijin1(), LIU Lizhong2   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of Education; School of Psychology, Central China Normal University; Key Laboratory of Human Development and Mental Health of Hubei Province, Wuhan 430079, China
    2School of Education, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, 430079, China
  • Received:2019-10-09 Published:2021-08-25 Online:2021-06-25
  • Contact: ZHAO Qingbai,YU Quanlei,ZHOU Zhijin;;
  • Supported by:
    Basic scientific research expenses of central universities in Central China Normal University(CCNU19TD019);Basic scientific research expenses of central universities in Central China Normal University(CCNU19ZN022)


The present study explores the cognitive and neural mechanisms of insight promoting memory through the learning-test paradigm. In Experiment 1, a behavioral experiment was conducted to test the validity of the Chengyu riddle selection paradigm in exploring insight to promote memory. The results showed that compared with the ordinary associative condition, the participants under the novel associative condition had higher scores of insight in the learning stage and a higher accuracy rate in the test phase, so the effectiveness of the paradigm is verified. In Experiment 2, fMRI was used to explore the key brain regions where insight promotes memory. The results showed that compared with the novel association condition of unsuccess memory, the novel association condition of successful memory activated the brain regions related to the insight process more strongly, including the hippocampus, amygdala, middle frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, and middle temporal gyrus. This suggests that deep processing of information and positive emotions during insight problem- solving in the learning phase promote memory, and further analysis shows that compared with normal associative memory, the facilitation effect of novel association on memory is mainly related to the activation of the right hippocampus, which may reflect that the formation of novel association builds episodic memory and novel and valuable semantic associations during insight problem- solving. The results show that the formation of novel semantic associations plays an important role in the insight's promotion of memory.

Key words: novel semantic association, insight, memory, hippocampus, Chengyu riddle