Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


This study was an attempt to replicate and extend the findings of an experiment by Auble, Franks and Soroci (1979) dealing with the "aha" experience. The "aha" experience is defined as a state of non comprehension followed by comprehension. Fourteen sentences were constructed, including ten target sentences defined as difficult (i.e., a sentence is incomprehensible without an appropriate cue word which then makes the sentence comprehensible). Four sentences were defined as easy (i.e., they were comprehensible without the cue word). The fourteen sentences were presented by tape recorder to younger (ages 25-35) and older (ages 60-75) subjects. Each subject was asked whether the sentence made sense, first without the cue word, and then with the cue word. After presentation of the experimental sentences, a recall task was administered. The dependent measures were: the number of times a sentence made sense before the cue was given; the number of "aha" experiences; the number of sentences recalled; and the percentage of "aha"-related sentences recalled. Each subject was then administered the information and similarities subtests of the WAIS. It was hypothesized that: older subjects would report the "aha" experience more often than the younger subjects and that the "aha" would facilitate recall more for the older adults than the younger adults; and that subjects scoring low on the WAIS subtests would not have as many "aha " experiences no recall as many sentences as those scoring high on the subtests. Results indicated that older and younger subjects experienced relatively the same number of "aha's”, but that the younger subjects recalled more sentences than the older subjects. This difference was primarily due to the larger number of non-"aha"-related sentences recalled by your get subjects compared with older subjects. Subjects who scored high on the WAIS subtests recalled more sentences and recalled a higher percentage of "aha" - related sentences than subjects who scored low on the subtests. Interaction effects of IQ by age indicated that high verbal IQ younger subjects and low verbal IQ older subjects responded with "makes sense" before the cue was given more often than the other subject groups; and low verbal IQ younger subjects and high verbal IQ older subjects experienced more "aha's" than the other subject groups. Potential explanations for the age effects involving the issues of qualitative changes in adult development, the efficacy of incidental learning in young and elderly adults, and implicit versus explicit inferential reasoning were discussed.


Cameron Camp

Date of Award

Fall 1981

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1981 Rita M. Monroe


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