REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202309.1198.v1
Subject: Social Sciences, Psychology Keywords: insight problem-solving; Aha! Moment; pupillometry; Gestalt; perception; attention; creativity
Online: 19 September 2023 (03:09:14 CEST)
The Gestalt psychologists’ theory of insight problem-solving was based on a direct parallelism between perceptual experience and higher-order forms of cognition (e.g., problem-solving). Simi-larly to the sudden recognition of an ambiguous figure, they contended that problem-solving in-volves a restructuring of one's initial representation of the problem’s elements, leading to a sud-den leap of understanding phenomenologically indexed by the "Aha!" feeling. Over the last centu-ry, different scholars discussed the validity of the Gestalt psychologists’ perspective foremost us-ing the behavioral measures available at the time. However, in the last 2 decades, scientists gained a deeper understanding of insight problem-solving due to the advancements in cognitive neuroscience. This review aims to provide a retrospective reading of Gestalt theory based on the knowledge accrued by adopting novel paradigms and investigating their neurophysiological correlates. Among several key points that the Gestalt psychologists underscored, we focus specif-ically on the role of the visual system in marking a discrete switch of knowledge into awareness, as well as the perceptual experience and the holistic standpoints. While the main goal of this paper is to read the previous theory in light of new evidence, we also hope to initiate an academic dis-cussion and encourage further research about the points we raise.