Insight Learning

Wolfgang Kohler, besides having one of the coolest names around, is well known for his studies on insight learning using chimpanzees.  Insight learning occurs when one suddenly realizes how to solve a problem.  Sometimes when you are taking a test you happen upon a problem that you have no idea how to solve.  Then all of a sudden, the answer comes to you.  Hopefully before you hand the test in, but most of the time the answer comes to you that night in the shower.

Kohler showed the power of insight learning by placing a banana above the reach of chimpanzees and watching how they attempted to reach the food.  In the room there were several boxes, none of which was high enough to enable the chimpanzees to reach the banana.  Kohler found that the chimpanzees spent most of their time unproductively rather than slowly working towards a solution.  They would run around, jump, and be generally upset about their inability to snag the snack until, all of a sudden, they would pile the boxes on top of each other, climb up, and grab the bananas. 

Kohler believed that the solution could not occur until the chimpanzees had a cognitive insight about how to solve the problem.  This method, although sometimes can occur, is not the best way to pass the AP Psychology exam.