1. Home
  2. »
  3. Creativity
  4. »
  5. Insight



Insight is the understanding of a specific cause and effect within a specific context. The term insight can have several related meanings:

  • a piece of information
  • the act or result of understanding the inner nature of things or seeing intuitively (called noesis in Greek)
  • an introspection
  • the power of acute observation and deduction , discernment , and perception , called intellection or noesis
  • An understanding of cause and effect based on identification of relationships and behaviors within a model, context, or scenario (see artificial intelligence )

An insight that manifests itself suddenly, such as understanding how to solve a difficult problem, is sometimes called by the German word Aha-Erlebnis . The term was coined by the German psychologist and theoretical linguist Karl Bühler . It is also known as an epiphany .


In psychology, insight occurs when a solution to a problem presents itself quickly and without warning. [2] It is the correct discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts based on trial and error. [3] [4] Solutions via Insight have been more accurate than non-insight solutions. [3]

Insight was first studied by Gestalt Psychology , in the early part of the 20th century, during the search for an alternative to associationism and the association of learning. [5] Some proposed potential mechanisms for insight include the following: [5]


Generally, methodological approaches to the study of insight in the laboratory with the participation of participants and problems that can not be solved in a conventional or practical manner. [5]Problems of insight commonly falling into three types. [5]

Breaking functional fixedness

They are not accustomed to (thus, breaking their functional fixedness ), like the “Duncker candle problem”. [5] In the “Duncker candle problem”, the results of this study are presented in a nutshell. [1] The solution requires the participants to empty the box of tacks, set the candle inside the box, tack the box to the wall, and light the candle with the matches.

Spatial ability

The second type of insight requires spatial ability to solve, like the “Nine-dot Problem”. [5] The famous “Nine-dot problem” requires participants to draw four lines, through nine dots, without picking their pencil up. [6]

Using verbal ability

The third and final type of problem requires verbal ability to solve, like the Remote Associates Test (RAT). [5] In the RAT, individuals must think of a word that connects three, seemingly unrelated, words. [7] RAT are often used in experiments, because they can be solved both with and without insight. [8]

Specific results

Versus non-insight problems

Two clusters of problems, which have been observed. [9] An individual’s cognitive flexibility, fluency , and vocabulary ability are predictive of performance on insight problems, but not on non-insight problems. [9] In contrast, fluid intelligence is mildly predictive of performance on non-insight problems, but not on insight problems. [9]


People in a better mood are more likely to solve problems using insight. [10] Research demonstrated that self-reported positive affect of participants uniquely increased insight before and during the resolution of a problem, [11] as indicated by differing brain activity patterns. [10] People experiencing anxiety showed the opposite effect, and solved less problems by insight. [10]


Using a geometric and spatial insight problem. [12] However, the length of incubation between problems did not matter. Thus, participants’ performance on insight problems improved just as much with a short break (4 minutes) as it did with a long break (12 minutes). [12]


Research has shown to sleep to help produce insight. [13] Individuals were initially trained on insight problems. After training, one group was tested on the insights after sleeping, one group was tested after staying awake all night, and one group was tested after staying awake all day. Those who have done so have stayed awake. [13]

In the brain

Differences in brain activation in the left and right hemisphere seem to be indicative of insight versus non-insight solutions. [14] Using RATs that have been presented to the right or right visual field, it has been shown that participants have been shown to be in the field of visualization, indicating right hemisphere processing. This provides evidence that the right hemisphere plays a unique role in insight. [14]

fMRI and EEG scans of participants completing RAT ‘s demonstrated single brain activity corresponding to problems solved by insight. [8] For one, there is high EEG activity in the alpha- and gamma-band about 300 milliseconds before participants indicated a solution to insight problems, but not to non-insight problems. [8] Additionally, problems in the temporal lobes and mid-frontal cortex, while more activity in the posterior cortex corresponded to non-insight problems. [8]The data suggests there is something different in the brain when solving insight versus non-insight problems that happens right before solving the problem. This conclusion has been taken care of by an eye to the eye of the eye. This is the result of the study of different sources of insight and problem solving via anlaysis. [15]

See also: Eureka effect Evidence for the Aha! effect in EEG studies

Group insight

It was found that groups typically perform better on insight problems (in the form of rebus puzzles with helpful or unhelpful clues) than individuals. [16]

Furthermore, while incubation improves insight performance for individuals, it improves insight performance for groups even more. [16] Thus, after a 15-minute break, individual performance for the rebus puzzles with unhelpful clues, and group performance for rebus puzzles with both unhelpful and helpful clues. [16]

Individual differences

Personality and gender, as they relate to performance on insight problems, was studied using a variety of insight problems. [17] It was found that participants who ranked higher on emotionality and higher on openness to experience performed better on insight problems. [17] Men outperformed women on insight problems, and women outperformed men on non-insight problems. [17]

Higher intelligence (higher IQ) has also been found to be associated with better performance on insight problems. [5] However, those of higher intelligence benefit than those of higher intelligence from being provided with cues and hints for insight problems. [5]


Individuals are poor at predicting their own metacognition for insight problems, than for non-insight problems. [18] Individuals were asked to indicate how “hot” or “cold” to a solution they felt. Generally, they have been able to predict this fairly well for non-insight problems, but not for insight problems. [18] This provides evidence for the suddenness involved during insight.

Naturalistic settings

Recently, insight was studied in a non-laboratory setting. [19] Accounts of insight that have been reported in the media, such as in interviews, etc., have been reviewed and coded. It was found that insights that occur in the field are typically associated with a sudden “change in understanding” and “connecting connections and contradictions” in the problem. [19] It was also found that insight in nature differed from insight in the laboratory. For example, insight in nature was often rather gradual, not sudden, and incubation was not important. [19]


Studies on primate cognition has provided evidence of what can be interpreted as insight in animals. In 1917, Wolfgang Köhler published his book The Mentality of Apes , having studied primates on the island of Tenerifefor six years. In one of his experiments, they are presented with an insight problem that requires the use of objects in new and original ways, in order to win a prize (usually, some kind of food). He observed that the animals would be continually failing to get food, and this process occurred for quite some time; however, rather suddenly, they would have purposefully used the object in the way of getting food, He argues this behavior as something resembling insight in apes. [20]


There are a number of theories representing insight; at present, no one theory dominates interpretation. [5]

Dual process theory

According to the dual process theory, there are two systems used to solve problems. [17] The first involves logical and analytical thinking processes based on reason, while the second involves intuitive and automatic processes based on experience. [17] Research has shown that insight probably involves both processes; however, the second process is more influential. [17]

Three-process theory

According to the three-process theory, intelligence plays a large role in insight. [21] Specifically, insight involving three different processes (selective encoding, combination, and comparison), which requires intelligence to apply to problems. [21] Selective encoding is the process of focusing attention on a solution, while ignoring features that are irrelevant. [21] Selective combination is the process of combining the information deemed relevant. [21] Finally, there is no doubt about the use of problems and solutions. [21]

Four-stage model

According to the four-stage model of insight, there are four stages to problem solving. [22] First, the individual prepares to solve a problem. [22] Second, the individual incubates on the problem, which encompasses trial-and-error, etc. [22] Third, the insight occurs, and the solution is illuminated. [22] Finally, the verification of the solution to the problem is experienced. [22] Since this model has been proposed, other similar models have been explored which contain two or three similar stages. [5]


See also: Egosyntonic and egodystonic , Introspection , and Self-awareness

In psychology and psychiatry , insight can mean the ability to recognize one’s own mental illness . [23] [24] This form of insight has multiple dimensions, such as recognizing the need for treatment, and recognizing consequences of one’s behavior as stemming from an illness. [25] A person with very poor recognition or acknowledgment is referred to as having “poor insight” or “lack of insight”. The most extreme form is anosognosia , the total absence of insight into one’s own mental illness. Many mental illnesses are associated with varying levels of insight. For example, people with obsessive compulsive disorder and various phobiasthey have a problem that they have a problem that their thoughts and / or actions are unreasonable, yet are compelled to carry out the thoughts and actions regardless. [26] Patients with schizophrenia , and various psychotic conditions tend to be very poor. [27] Today, some psychiatrists recognize psychiatric medication to contribute to patients lack of insight. [28] [29] [30]

“Insight” can also refer to other matters in psychology; problem solving behavior requiring insight is the subject of insight phenomenology .

An insight is the derivation of a rule which links cause with effect . The mind is a model of the universe built up from insights.

Thoughts of the mind fall into two categories:

  1. Analysis of past experience with the purpose of gaining insight for this model at a later date
  2. Simulations of future scenarios using existing insights in the mind

A mature mind has assimilated many insights and represents a sophisticated model of the universe. The mind-model might be inaccurate. When insight is not subordinate to a validation discipline like the ‘ scientific method ‘, ‘ fallacious ‘ thinking can result in a confused mind.

Intuition, which is often described in the literature as an alternative thought process, is simply another manifestation of insight. [31] In this process, multiple bits of seemingly unrelated data are linked together and a hypothesis or plan of action is generated. Usually this process is generated in a new situation. Such a circumstance links data which had previously seemed unrelated. [32] The categories and analytical processes, however, are not separate from any other form of insight. The only difference is the degree of novelty of the stimulus. quote needed ]


The Pali word for “insight” is vipassana , which has been adopted as the name of a kind of Buddhist mindfulness meditation. Recent research indicates that mindfulness meditation does not solve problems with dosing of 20 minutes. [33]


Pat Conroy citation needed ] Points Out That year Insight is a statement based were deep understanding of your target Consumers ‘ attitudes and beliefs, qui connect at an emotional level with your consumer, provoking a clear response ( This brand Understands me! That is exactly how I feel – Even If They’ve never thought about it quite like that) qui, When leveraged, Has the power to change consumer behavior . Insights must be a change in consumer behavior that benefits your brand , leading to the achievement of the objective marketing . quote needed ]

Insights can be based on:

  1. Real gold perceived weakness to be exploited in competitive product performance or value
  2. Attitudinal or perceived barrier in the minds of consumers, regarding your brand
  3. Untapped or compelling belief or practice

Insights are most effective when they are / do one of the following:

  1. Unexpected
  2. Create a disequilibrium
  3. Change momentum
  4. Exploited via a benefit or point of difference that your brand can deliver

In order to be actionable, the expression of a consumer truth, an insight as articulated sentence, containing: [34]

  1. An observation gold a wish, eg “I would like to ….”
  2. A motivation explaining the wish, eg “because …”
  3. A barrier preventing the consumer from being satisfied with the fulfillment of his / her motivation, eg “but …”

The gap between the second and the third term offers a tension, which constitutes a potential for a brand. Like there are concept writers for copies, there are insight writers.

In technical terminology of insight in market research is the understanding of local market by different sources of information (such as quantitative research and qualitative research) proving for consumers’ insight.

See also

  • Human self-reflection
  • Introspection
  • Psychological mindedness
  • Self awareness
  • Bernard Lonergan


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Duncker, Karl; Lees, Lynne S. (January 1, 1945). “On problem-solving”. Psychological Monographs . 58 (5): i-113. doi : 10.1037 / h0093599 . Cite error: Invalid tag; name “Duncker” defined multiple times with different content (see the help page ). <ref>
  2. Jump up^ Robinson-Riegler, Bridget Robinson-Riegler, Gregory. Cognitive psychology: applying the science of mind (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon. ISBN  978-0-205-03364-5 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:b Salvi, Carola; Bricolo, Emanuela; Bowden, Edward; Kounios, John; Beeman, Mark (2016). “Insight solutions are correct more often than analytic solutions”. Thinking and Reasoning : 1-18. doi : 10.1080 / 13546783.2016.1141798 .
  4. Jump up^ Weiten, W .; McCann, D. (2007). Themes and Variations . Nelson Education Ltd: Thomson Wadsworth. ISBN  978-0176472733 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:k Sternberg, Edited by Robert J .; Davidson, Janet E. (1996). The nature of insight (Reprint ed.) Cambridge, MA; London: The MIT Press. ISBN  0-262-69187-6 .
  6. ^ Jump up to:b Sloan, Sam Loyd; with an introduction by Sam (2007). Cyclopedia of puzzles . Bronx, NY: Ishi Press International. ISBN  0-923891-78-1 . Cite error: Invalid tag; name “Nine-dot” defined multiple times with different content (see the help page ). <ref>
  7. Jump up^ Mednick, Sarnoff (1 January 1962). “The associative basis of the creative process”. Psychological Review . 69 (3): 220-232. doi : 10.1037 / h0048850 .
  8. ^ Jump up to:d Kounios, John; Beeman, Mark (August 1, 2009). “The Aha! Moment: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Insight”. Current Directions in Psychological Science . 18 (4): 210-216. doi : 10.1111 / j.1467-8721.2009.01638.x .
  9. ^ Jump up to:c Gilhooly, KJ; Murphy, P (August 1, 2005). “Differentiating insight from non-insight problems”. Thinking & Reasoning . 11 (3): 279-302. doi : 10.1080 / 13546780442000187 .
  10. ^ Jump up to:c Subramaniam, Karuna; Kounios, John; Parrish, Todd B .; Jung-Beeman, Mark (March 1, 2009). “A Brain Mechanism for Facilitation of Insight by Positive Affect”. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience . 21 (3): 415-432. doi : 10.1162 / jocn.2009.21057 . PMID  18578603 .
  11. Jump up^ Shen, W .; Yuan, Y .; Liu, C .; Luo, J. (2015). “In search of the ‘Aha!’ experiment: Elucidating the emotionality of insight problem-solving “. British Journal of Psychology . 107 : 281-298. doi : 10.1111 / bjop.12142 .
  12. ^ Jump up to:b Segal Eliaz (1 March 2004). “Incubation in Insight Problem Solving”. Creativity Research Journal . 16 (1): 141-148. doi : 10.1207 / s15326934crj1601_13 .
  13. ^ Jump up to:b Wagner Ullrich; Gais, Steffen; Haider, Hilde; Verleger, Rolf; Born, Jan (22 January 2004). “Sleep inspires insight”. Nature . 427 (6972): 352-355. doi : 10.1038 / nature02223 . PMID  14737168 .
  14. ^ Jump up to:b Bowden, Edward M .; Jung-Beeman, Mark (September 1, 2003). “Aha! Insight experience correlates with solution activation in the right hemisphere”. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review . 10 (3): 730-737. doi : 10.3758 / BF03196539 . Cite error: Invalid tag; name “Bowden_.26_Beeman_.282003.29” defined multiple times with different content (see the help page ). <ref>
  15. Jump up^ Salvi, Carola; Bricolo, Emanuela; Franconeri, Steven; Kounios, John; Beeman, Mark (December 2015). “Sudden insight is associated with shutting out visual inputs”. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review . 22 (6): 1814-1819. doi :10.3758 / s13423-015-0845-0 .
  16. ^ Jump up to:c Smith, C. M .; Bushouse, E .; Lord, J. (13 November 2009). “Individual and group performance on insight problems: The effects of experimentally induced fixation”. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations . 13 (1): 91-99. doi : 10.1177 / 1368430209340276 .
  17. ^ Jump up to:f Lin Wei-Lun; Hsu, Kung-Yu; Chen, Hsueh-Chih; Wang, Jenn-Wu (January 1, 2011). “The relations of gender and personality traits on different creativities: A dual-process theory account”. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts . 6 (2): 112-123. doi : 10.1037 / a0026241 .
  18. ^ Jump up to:b Metcalfe, Janet; David Wiebe (1987). “Intuition in insight and noninsight problem solving”. Memory & Cognition . 15 (3): 238-246. doi : 10.3758 / BF03197722 .
  19. ^ Jump up to:c Klein, G .; Jarosz, A. (17 November 2011). “A Naturalistic Study of Insight”. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making . 5 (4): 335-351. doi : 10.1177 / 1555343411427013 .
  20. Jump up^ Köhler, Wolfgang (1999). The mentality of apes (Repr. London: Routledge. ISBN  0-415-20979-X .
  21. ^ Jump up to:e Davidson, JE; Sternberg, RJ (April 1, 1984). “The Role of Insight in Intellectual Giftedness”. Gifted Child Quarterly . 28 (2): 58-64. doi : 10.1177 / 001698628402800203 .
  22. ^ Jump up to:e Hadamard, Jacques (1975). An essay on the psychology of invention in the mathematical field (Unaltered and unabridged reprint of the enlarged (1949) ed.). New York, NY: Dover Publ. ISBN  978-0-486-20107-8 .
  23. Jump up^ Marková I. S. (2005)Insight in Psychiatry. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  24. Jump up^ Pijnenborg, GHM; Spikman, JM; Jeronimus, BF; Aleman, A. (2012). “Insight in schizophrenia: associations with empathy”. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience . 263 (4): 299-307. doi : 10.1007 / s00406-012-0373-0 . PMID  23076736 .
  25. Jump up^ Ghaemi, S. Nassir (2002). Polypharmacy in Psychiatry . Hoboken: Informa Healthcare. ISBN  0-8247-0776-1 .
  26. Jump up^ Markova, IS; Jaafari, N; Berrios, GE (2009). “Insight and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A conceptual analysis”. Psychopathology . 42 (5): 277-282. doi : 10.1159 / 000228836 . PMID  19609097 .
  27. Jump up^ Marková, I. S .; Berrios, G. E .; Hodges, JH (2004). “Insight into Memory Function”. Neurology, Psychiatry & Brain Research . 11 : 115-126.
  28. Jump up^ “Mistakes I Have Made in My Research Career” by Robin M. Murray.Schizophr Bull (2016) sbw165. doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sbw165. Published 21 December 2016.
  29. Jump up^ Harrow, M; Jobe, TH; Faull, RN (October 2012). “Do all schizophrenia patients need antipsychotic treatment continuously throughout their lifetime? A 20-year longitudinal study”. Psychol Med . 42 : 2145-55. doi : 10.1017 / S0033291712000220 . PMID  22340278 .
  30. Jump up^ Moncrieff, J. “Antipsychotic Maintenance Treatment: Time to Rethink?” . PLoS Med . 12 : e1001861. doi : 10.1371 / journal.pmed.1001861 . PMC  4524699  . PMID  26241954 .
  31. Jump up^ Giannini, AJ; Daood, J; Giannini, MC; Boniface, RS; Rhodes, PG (1978). “Intellect versus intuition-a dichotomy in the reception of nonverbal communication”. Journal of General Psychology . 99 : 19-25. doi : 10.1080 / 00221309.1978.9920890 .
  32. Jump up^ Giannini, AJ; Barringer, ME; Giannini, MC; Loiselle, RH (1984). “Lack of relationship between handedness and intuitive (rationalistic) modes of information processing”. Journal of General Psychology . 111 : 31-37. doi :10.1080 / 00221309.1984.9921094 .
  33. Jump up^ Ren, Jun; Huang, ZhiHui; Luo, Jing; Wei, GaoXia; Ying, XiaoPing; Ding, ZhiGuang; Wu, YiBin; Luo, Fei (29 October 2011). “Meditation promotes insightful problem-solving by keeping people in mindful and alert conscious state”. Science China Life Sciences . 54 (10): 961-965. doi : 10.1007 / s11427-011-4233-3 . PMID  22038009 .
  34. Jump up^ cf. http://www.insightquest.fr/quest-ce-quun-insights.html