2002-2003 Erlbaum Winners' Abstracts
Hindsight Bias Measures of Restructuring in Problem Solving
Ivan K. Ash, University of Illinois at Chicago
First-Place Erlbaum Winner (Graduate)
Faculty Sponsor: Jennifer Wiley
It has been proposed that, while most problems are solved using incremental or analytic processes, insight problems are solved using a sudden restructuring process. Although some results have suggested differences between insightful and incremental problem solving processes (Metcalfe & Wiebe, 1987), there has been little direct evidence for restructuring in insightful problem solving.
In the present study participants read 4 insight and 4 incremental problems, and rated each piece or component of the problem o how important it will be in the solution. They then attempted to solve each problem. After a week interval participants returned and were asked to remember their original importance ratings for each problem component. On correctly solved insight problems individuals reported increased importance ratings on useful problem components and decreased importance ratings on useless components. This pattern represents evidence for a more appropriate problem representation after solving the insight problems. No differences between original ratings and memory tests were found for incorrectly solved insight problems, or any incremental problems. These results lend support to restructuring theories of insight (Davidson, 1986, Ohlsson, 1992) and stand in contrast to "nothing special" theory predictions (Weisberg & Alba, 1981).
The Social Context of Infant Imitation: A Developmental Study
Rebecca Lamberth, Rutgers University New Brunswick
First-Place Erlbaum Winner (Undergraduate)
Faculty Sponsor: Cardyn Rovee-Collier, Ph.D.
In four experiments with 78 6-, 9-, and 12-month-old infants, we examined whether changes in the social context affected memory performance in a deferred imitation task. One experimenter modeled a sequence of target actions on a hand puppet, and a different experimenter tested infants' ability to imitate the target actions 24 hours later. Although testing with a different experimenter impaired deferred imitation, this impairment was alleviated by pre-exposing infants of all ages to the different experimenter before the 24-hour test or by allowing 9- and 12-month-olds to imitate the target actions immediately after they were modeled. We hypothesized that both procedures facilitated infants' deferred imitation by providing additional retrieval cues. These results reveal that the memories of young infants are highly specific to the social context in which learning occurs and that this constraint loosens with age.