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The role of anticipatory attention in insight and non-insight solutions in the anagram solution task

The role of anticipatory attention in insight and non-insight solutions in the anagram solution task

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Recieved: 09/09/2019

Accepted: 01/16/2020

Published: 03/31/2020

p.: 66-77

DOI: 10.11621/npj.2020.0107

Keywords: insight; anagram; attention; anticipatory attention; creativity; creation

Available online: 31.03.2020

To cite this article:

Medyntsev Alexey A., Sabadosh P.A. , Kogan Alena A., Moskvina Victoria D., Nemirova Svetlana A., Kayutina Diana V.. The role of anticipatory attention in insight and non-insight solutions in the anagram solution task. // National Psychological Journal 2020. 1. p.66-77. doi: 10.11621/npj.2020.0107

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Issue 1, 2020

Medyntsev Alexey A. Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Sabadosh P.A. Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Kogan Alena A. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Moskvina Victoria D. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Nemirova Svetlana A. Lomonosov Moscow State University

Kayutina Diana V. Lomonosov Moscow State University


Background. In modern psychology the study of mechanisms of creative thinking is of great interest. Attention is one of the important factors affecting the operation of intuitive thinking component.

The Objective of the paper is to study the effect of anticipatory attention on the insight and analytical frequency in solving anagrams.

Design. During the experiment, the participants performed two successive tasks. The first task included stimuli identification when the subjects were presented with stimuli — anagrams and pseudowords. The task was to identify the anagram correctly. In the second task (if the stimulus had been the anagram), the participants had to solve the anagram, noting whether the solution was analytical or an insight. The anagram and pseudoword had different letter order. The participants were divided into two groups: the experimental group whose subjects were informed about the difference and were asked to use it for a lexical solution and the control group whose subjects were not informed about the difference.

It was expected that the identification of the anagram in the first task will shape anticipatory attention patterns for the experimental group, which will affect the frequency of insight solutions in the second task. Results. The subjects of the experimental group were found to have a correlation relationship between the speed characteristics of the first and second tasks for analytical solutions. For insight solutions, no such connection was found.

Conclusion. The results demonstrate that insights and analytical solutions are the result of two separate processes of finding solutions that proceed in parallel.

Fig. 1. Experiment.

Fig 2. Time span of anagram recognition in 2-6 series.

Table 1. Experiment

Experimental series


Differences between incentives

Control group (not aware of differences)

Experimental group (aware of differences)

Series 1 Educating

14 anagrams

No differences (no pseudo words)

No differences (no pseudo words)

Series 2–5 Major

160 anagrams 80 pseudo words



Series 6 Deviant

40 anagrams 20 pseudo words

No differences

No differences

Table 2. Time of insight and analytical decisions in two groups, ms







Experimental group













Control group














This work was supported by the RFBR grant No. 18-013-00765


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To cite this article:

Medyntsev Alexey A., Sabadosh P.A. , Kogan Alena A., Moskvina Victoria D., Nemirova Svetlana A., Kayutina Diana V.. The role of anticipatory attention in insight and non-insight solutions in the anagram solution task. // National Psychological Journal 2020. 1. p.66-77. doi: 10.11621/npj.2020.0107

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