Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
The psychological state of non-comprehension followed by comprehension has been viewed as the "aha" experience (Auble, Franks & Soraci, 1979). The study explored the "aha” experience of comprehension and its relation to memory. Fifty-six college undergraduate psychology students served as subjects. All subjects were orally presented a list of 14 sentences. Ten of the sentences were defined as hard (i.e., incomprehensible without a cue which then makes it comprehensible) and four of the sentences were defined as easy (i.e., comprehensible without the cue). All subjects were presented each sentence by tape recording and asked if each sentence made sense. Next, a cue word was presented after each sentence which could have made the sentence comprehensible. They were then asked again if the sentence made sense. Subjects were then divided into two groups. One group performed a free recall task for the sentences they had previously judged. The other group performed a paraphrasing task in which they were asked to write the meaning of each previously judged sentence in light of its appropriate cue. All subjects were then administered a questionnaire designed to measure cautiousness. Finally, all subjects were administered the WAI information and similarities subtests. (A median split was performed on the combined raw scores dividing each task group into high and low 10 levels.) Within the free recall task, it was expected that the member of sentences in which the sentences made sense before the cue was given would be greater for subjects with high IQ scores. These subjects would also experience a greater number of "ahas", would recall a greater number of sentences and would recall a greater percentage of sentences in which "aha" was experienced. Within the paraphrasing task it was expected that the number of sentences in which the sentence made sense before the cue was given would be greater for subjects with high IQ scores. These subjects were also expected to experience a greater number of "ahas", correctly paraphrase a greater number of sentences and correctly paraphrase a greater percentage of "ahas". The results of the analyses indicated that slight differences were noted in the occurrence of "aha" between sentence set A and B and also between males and females, with male subjects experiencing more "ahas" with set B. The use of the paraphrasing task confirmed that subjects reporting the occurrence of "aha" did indeed understand the sentence.
Copyright 1982 Diana R. Facklam-Rankin
Rankin, Diana, "The 'Aha' Experience of Comprehension and its Relation to Memory" (1982). Master's Theses. 1862.