Exploring the Unconscious Nature of Insight Using Continuous Flash Suppression and a Dual Task

Hiroaki SuzukiAoyama Gakuin University
Haruaki FukudaThe University of Tokyo
Hiromitsu MiyataAoyama Gakuin University
Keishi TsuchiyaAoyama Gakuin University

Abstract

A growing body of evidence suggests that implicit information processing has considerable effects on the higher-order cognitive processes such as insight problem solving. Is such implicit information stored within the working memory system, or is it processed in a storage system other than working memory? To differentiate these two possibilities, the present study examined solution of the T-puzzle, an insight problem, after participants were or were not subliminally presented with the hint images by using the continuous flash suppression (CFS). A spatial tapping task, which is deemed to interfere with spatial working memory, was introduced during CFS. The two hypotheses each predicted deteriorated and maintained performance on the T-puzzle after the tapping task. Contrary to these hypotheses, participants tended to exhibit better solution performance and relaxation of constraints after having the tapping task, either with or without subliminal presentation of the hints. Mechanisms by which the secondary task may facilitate insight problem solving are discussed.

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