Psychological Idiosyncratic of Rebuses as Cognitive Sense Understanding Tacks



The article discusses the applicability of rebuses in a cognitive investigation. An analysis of the cognitive structure of the rebuses and the cognitive actions of the respondents at each step of the solution has been carried out. The examples describe how the different cognitive customs and the subjective experience of the respondent have an effect on the solving of rebuses. We view rebuses as a form of binary texts because of two semantic layers made by the author (the one who creates the rebus). The first one is the obvious vivid (pictured) semantic layer. A viewer (the one who tries to solve rebuses) should read it in the right way. The second one is the masking (verbal) semantic layer, which should be reconstructed in the viewer’s mental space and the word — the answer should be made clear. The intelligent promptings and catches intentionally are hidden by the author to catch the viewer on the way of solution. The role of idiosyncratic rebuses cognitive structure for the development and training two languages of thinking: verbal and image is clarified. The viewer has to coup with five specific cognitive balks we depict in the article: validity identification and naming the pictured objects; finding out the criterion of differentiation between important and unimportant information; understanding the instruction for rebuses solution; synthesizing the word — answer of the rebus; skillfulness to reconstruct the author’s intention. The typical cognitive difficulties for each balk are revealed. Rebuses solution shows certain aspects of mental processing. We suppose that the other methods of intellectual investigation can be insensitive to some delicate aspects of mental processing.

General Information

Keywords: understanding, mental process, binary text, implicit sense, initiating causes of understanding, puzzles solving, brainteaser solving, cognitive task, cognitive bulk, cognitive difficulty, cognitive skills

Journal rubric: Empirical and Experimental Research

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Tselyaeva S.I. Psychological Idiosyncratic of Rebuses as Cognitive Sense Understanding Tacks. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2019. Vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 187–206. DOI: 10.21638/spbu16.2019.206. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Svetlana I. Tselyaeva, Psychologist, St. Petersburg State University, PPMS-centr «Razvitie» Central’nogo rajona Sankt-Peterburga, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:



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