Aha! experiences leave a mark: facilitated recall of insight solutions

Psychol Res. 2013 Sep;77(5):659-69. doi: 10.1007/s00426-012-0454-8. Epub 2012 Sep 25.


The present study investigates a possible memory advantage for solutions that were reached through insightful problem solving. We hypothesized that insight solutions (with Aha! experience) would be remembered better than noninsight solutions (without Aha! experience). 34 video clips of magic tricks were presented to 50 participants as a novel problem-solving task, asking them to find out how the trick was achieved. Upon discovering the solution, participants had to indicate whether they had experienced insight during the solving process. After a delay of 14 days, a recall of solutions was conducted. Overall, 55 % of previously solved tricks were recalled correctly. Comparing insight and noninsight solutions, 64.4 % of all insight solutions were recalled correctly, whereas only 52.4 % of all noninsight solutions were recalled correctly. We interpret this finding as a facilitating effect of previous insight experiences on the recall of solutions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Awareness / physiology
  • Creativity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Problem Solving / physiology*
  • Young Adult