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A microgenetic study of insightful problem solving.
An eight-session microgenetic study of acquisition of an insightful problem-solving strategy was conducted. A total of 35 second graders who did not use this insightful strategy initially were assigned to two groups that differed in the frequency of problems likely to facilitate discovery and generalization of the strategy. Children in the facilitative problems group discovered the insightful strategy earlier, used it more often subsequently, and transferred it more often to novel problems than did those in the nonfacilitative problems group. Children generally discovered the insightful strategy on the most facilitative items and extended it progressively to items on which its advantages were smaller but still substantial. The results indicate that experience outside the experimental situation, as well as experience inside the experimental situation, influences use of new strategies.