Lectures by well-known cognitive psychologist Michael Öllinger

18 October

On October 18 and 19, RANEPA Institute of Social Sciences hosts lectures by well-known cognitive psychologist Michael Öllinger, one of the current leaders in the field of research on the cognitive mechanisms of insight.

The lectures will be held in English and will be accompanied by a summary translation.

1. Thinking, problem solving, and insight (October 18 at 18:00, room 205)

One of the most relevant areas in the psychology of thinking today is the study of the insight phenomenon  and the cognitive mechanisms underlying it. There are two main competing models explaining the nature of involuntary and unexpected solutions to mental problems, often accompanied by a violent emotional “aha” experience:
• Representational change theory
• Criterion for satisfactory progress theory.
The first theory suggests that insight is a moment of breaking the impasse in problem solving by restructuring the original representation through special mechanisms (recoding, decomposition of chunks, weakening restrictions, etc.).
The other model suggests that insight is the discovery of that part of the task space that plays a key role in solving the problem, but was not initially available to the solver. It is possible to identify it by switching between different heuristic strategies during the solution. The lecture will describe research that confronts these two theories using cases of solving various mental problems.

2. Neurocognitive models of insight problem solving (October 19 at 18:00, room 034)

What happens in the brain when we think? Are there any sustainable neural correlates of mental activity? Although numerous studies in the field of neuroscience have expanded our understanding of the processes occurring in the brain while recollecting words or distinguishing color stimuli, we still know very little about the neural correlates of thinking. What neurophysiological processes are necessary to compare two objects, solve a simple categorical syllogism, or make a conclusion about the potential cause of a phenomenon observed? And finally, what happens in the brain of a person who has insight? The lecture will give a brief overview of how thinking (and insight in particular) can be explored using neuroimaging techniques and which explanatory models already exist in this area.

Time: October 18 and 19 at 18:00
Location: RANEPA, Building 2 at 11 Prechistenskaya Embankment
October 18: Room 205
October 19: Room 034

If you do not have a RANEPA ID, please send your full name to Victoria Panina at to be able to attend the lectures



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