Memory for the Source of Solutions in Remote Associate Tasks: the Role of Generation Effect and the Aha!-Experience



The aim of the current work is to study the role of the Aha!-experience in remembering the source of solutions, either self-generated or externally presented. In memory studies there are specific source-monitoring errors, which occur whenever a participant claims to have generated an idea that was derived from different sources (unconscious plagiarism). Several previous studies have shown that experiencing the feeling of Aha! during either problem-solving or the presentation of the correct solutions can have a beneficial relationship to the subsequent recall of the material with the processing of which it was associated. However, studies of the Aha!-experience on the source monitoring task (self-generated solutions vs presented solu- tions) have not been conducted. In the authors’ study, the hypothesis that the feeling of Aha!, associated with the task being solved, can affect source-monitoring accuracy. During the first stage of the experiment, participants (80 people) had to solve Compound Remote Associates Task items and to estimate whether they had a feeling of Aha!, when either generating the solution or being presented with it in case they failed to generate it. At the second stage, conducted a week later, participants had to recall if the solution was generated by themselves or just presented. The results confirm the generation effect, which manifests itself in success- fully recalling problems for which a solution was found (sufficient generation) compared to problems with no-solutions found (fail-to-generate). Participants quite accurately recognized the source of the solution a week later, attributing generated solutions to themselves, while attributing fail-to-generate solutions to the presented ones. However, the authors did not find any additional impact of the Aha!-experience on the problem’s recognition, nor on the source- monitoring task performance. In the conclusion of the article, the contradictions of different experimental data concerning the influence of the Aha!-experience on long-term memory and further areas of research is discussed.

General Information

Keywords: source-monitoring judgements, Aha!-experience, insight, problem-solving, remote associate task

Journal rubric: Empirical and Experimental Research

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The study was supported by the RFBR grant, project no. 20-013-00532.

For citation: Gershkovich V.A., Moroshkina N.V., Fedosova V.I. Memory for the Source of Solutions in Remote Associate Tasks: the Role of Generation Effect and the Aha!-Experience. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2021. Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 72–88. DOI: 10.21638/spbu16.2021.105. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Valeria A. Gershkovich, PhD in Psychology, Assistant, General Psychology Chair, Department of Psychology, Saint-Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:

Nadezhda V. Moroshkina, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher, Cognitive Research Laboratory, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:

Victiria I. Fedosova, MA in Psychology, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:



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