Edited by Marta Sinclair
Chapter 19: Enhancing intuition in problem solving through problem finding
Some of the steps linked to the problem-finding process partially overlap with intuition, in particular with insight. Starting from this assumption, the present chapter explores the relationships between problem-finding and insight problem-solving abilities. We hypothesize that the empowerment of problem-finding abilities could enhance problem solving (including the solution of insight problems), increase the awareness of possible mistakes, and foster more adequate conceptions about problem solving per se. Three hundred and eighty-five primary school children were assigned to the intervention or control group. The intervention group was involved in a problem-finding training based on the request to find the proper question to be asked in relation to a given situation. All participants were administered a standardized test to measure the ability to solve mathematical problems, the Impulsive/Reflective Problem solving test, and the Insight Problem Solution test in both the pre- and post-training phases. A test assessing naïve conceptions of mathematics was administered as well. Results showed a significant improvement in the problem-solving tests in the intervention, but not in the control group. Students in the intervention group showed also an increased awareness regarding the problem-solving process. Implications for the enhancement of intuition in problem solving are discussed.
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