Michael Öllinger

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The nine-dot problem is often used to demonstrate and explain mental impasse, creativity, and out of the box thinking. The present study investigated the interplay of a restricted initial search space, the likelihood of invoking a representational change, and the subsequent constraining of an unrestricted search space. In three experimental conditions,(More)
The 8-coin insight problem requires the problem solver to move 2 coins so that each coin touches exactly 3 others. Ormerod, MacGregor, and Chronicle (2002) explained differences in task performance across different versions of the 8-coin problem using the availability of particular moves in a 2-dimensional search space. We explored 2 further explanations by(More)
Insightful problem solving is a vital part of human thinking, yet very difficult to grasp. Traditionally, insight has been investigated by using a set of established “insight tasks,” assuming that insight has taken place if these problems are solved. Instead of assuming that insight takes place during every solution of the 9 Dot, 8 Coin, and Matchstick(More)
Magic tricks usually remain a mystery to the observer. For the sake of science, we offered participants the opportunity to discover the magician's secret method by repeatedly presenting the same trick and asking them to find out how the trick worked. In the context of insightful problem solving, the present work investigated the emotions that participants(More)
Consider the anecdote of King Hiero asking Archimedes to prove that the amount of gold in his newly made crown equals the amount of gold given to the goldsmiths. Archimedes considers the problem for some time, and becomes stuck in an impasse – he simply cannot see a solution. Some days later when taking a bath, he notices that his body displaces the water(More)
According to the restructuring hypothesis, insight problem solving typically progresses through consecutive stages of search, impasse, insight, and search again for someone, who solves the task. The order of these stages was determined through self-reports of problem solvers and has never been verified behaviorally. We asked whether individual analysis of(More)
Intuition and insight are intriguing phenomena of non-analytical mental functioning: whereas intuition denotes ideas that have been reached by sensing the solution without any explicit representation of it, insight has been understood as the sudden and unexpected apprehension of the solution by recombining the single elements of a problem. By face validity,(More)
In this paper, we show that a neurally implemented a cognitive architecture with evolutionary dynamics can solve the four-tree problem. Our model, called Darwinian Neurodynamics, assumes that the unconscious mechanism of problem solving during insight tasks is a Darwinian process. It is based on the evolution of patterns that represent candidate solutions(More)
Magic tricks violate the expected causal relationships that form an implicit belief system about what is possible in the world around us. Observing a magic effect seemingly invalidates our implicit assumptions about what action causes which outcome. We aimed at identifying the neural correlates of such expectation violations by contrasting 24 video clips of(More)