Theses and Dissertations



Moss, Jarrod

Committee Member

Jarosz, Andrew

Committee Member

Eakin, Deborah

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Immediate Worldwide Access

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


Insight problems are often comprised of a period of impasse during which no new attempts are generated followed by an abrupt realization of the solution arising from the restructuring of an initial flawed problem representation. However, the precise mechanisms precipitating these processes are still being investigated. One hypothesis is that analyzing the unchanging elements of previous attempts may facilitate restructuring. We investigated this hypothesis using three classic insight problems. Participants were provided either three common examples of unsuccessful problem attempts, their own problem attempts, or no previous attempts. The prior attempts conditions eliminate the need to rely on memory to access previous unsuccessful attempts so that this mechanism could be investigated. Individual differences in working memory capacity and cognitive reflection were also collected. While there was no overall effect of the prior attempts conditions, both working memory and cognitive reflection were identified as significant predictors of restructuring and solving across problems and conditions.