Title

Effects of External Reward and Trait Curiosity Type On Analogical Insight and Analytical Problem Solving

Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

John D. Alcorn

Advisor Department

Psychology

Abstract

Meaning-making may be central to psychological change within and outside a counseling relationship, may be construed as a creative process, and may be investigated through a focus on variables associated with empirical studies of creativity. This study investigated the effects of contingencies of external reward (dollar bill) crossed with type of trait curiosity on analogical insight and analytical problem solving. One 2 x 3 ANCOVA (Part 1) and one 2 x 3 ANOVA (Part 2) formed the study's experimental framework with undergraduates as participants. In Part 1 high and low diversive trait curiosity, measured by the External Sensation subscale of the Novelty Experiencing Scale (Pearson, 1970), were crossed with contingencies of tangible reward to determine the effect on analogical insight problem solving. In Part 2 high and low specific trait curiosity, measured by the Trait Curiosity subscale of the Melbourne State-Trait Curiosity Inventory (Naylor, 1981), were crossed with contingencies of tangible reward to determine the effect on analytical problem solving. Dependent measures consisted of 12 selective comparison (analogical insight) problems and 12 analytical problems previously identified and administered by Davidson (1995, personal communication, March 30, 1999) in a study testing the three process theory of insight. Results revealed that (a) participants high in diversive trait curiosity differed significantly in their performance on analogical insight problems from participants low in diversive trait curiosity (F = 5.915, df = 1/34, p = .010 one-tailed), (b) participants high in specific trait curiosity differed significantly in their performance on analytical problems from participants low in specific trait curiosity ( F = 3.758, df = 1/34, p = .031 one-tailed), (c) performance-independent reward and quality-dependent reward resulted in no significant performance differences from no reward control contingencies on either analogical insight or on analytical problems, and (d) possible interactions of type of trait curiosity, diversive and specific, with reward contingencies were non-significant. Implications are explored for Spielberger and Starr's (1994) optimal stimulation/dual process theory of exploratory behavior, risk taking and creativity, curiosity as a possible emotional basis for intrinsic motivation, insight and intuition, the neurophysiology of insight, and the Baldwin (1896/1996) effect as an evolutionary framework for creativity.