Kinenoetic analysis : unveiling the material traces of insight

Ross, Wendy and Vallée-Tourangeau, Frédéric (2021) Kinenoetic analysis : unveiling the material traces of insight. Methods in Psychology, 5, p. 100069. ISSN (online) 2590-2601


Research on insight problem solving sets itself a challenging goal: How to explain the origin of a new idea. It compounds the difficulty of this challenge by traditionally seeking to explain the phenomenon in strictly mental terms. Rather, we suggest that thoughts and actions are bound to objects, inviting a granular description of the world within which thinking proceeds. As the reasoner transforms the world, the physical traces of these changes can be mapped in space and time. Not only can the reasoner see these changes, and act upon them, the researcher can develop new inscription devices that captures the trajectory of the creative arc along spatial and temporal coordinates. Kinenoetic is a term we employ to capture the idea that knowledge comes from the movement of objects and that this knowledge is both at the level of the problem-solver and at the level of the researcher. This form of knowledge can only be constructed in problem solving environments where reasoners can manipulate physical elements. A kinenoetic analysis tracks and maps the changes to the object-qua-models of proto solutions, and in the process unveils the physical genesis of new ideas and creativity. Our aim here is to lay out a method for using the objects commonly employed in interactive problem-solving research, tracing the process of thought to elucidate underlying cognitive mechanisms. Thus, the focus turns from the effects of objects on thoughts, to tracing object-thought mutualities as they are enacted and made visible.

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