Cognitive architecture with evolutionary dynamics solves insight problem

Anna Fedor, István Zachar, András Szilágyi, Michael öllinger, Harold P. de Vladar, Eörs Szathmáry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we show that a neurally implemented a cognitive architecture with evolutionary dynamics can solve the four-tree problem. Our model, called Darwinian Neurodynamics, assumes that the unconscious mechanism of problem solving during insight tasks is a Darwinian process. It is based on the evolution of patterns that represent candidate solutions to a problem, and are stored and reproduced by a population of attractor networks. In our first experiment, we used human data as a benchmark and showed that the model behaves comparably to humans: it shows an improvement in performance if it is pretrained and primed appropriately, just like human participants in Kershaw et al. (2013)'s experiment. In the second experiment, we further investigated the effects of pretraining and priming in a two-by-two design and found a beginner's luck type of effect: solution rate was highest in the condition that was primed, but not pretrained with patterns relevant for the task. In the third experiment, we showed that deficits in computational capacity and learning abilities decreased the performance of the model, as expected. We conclude that Darwinian Neurodynamics is a promising model of human problem solving that deserves further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number427
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - Mar 29 2017


  • Attractor networks
  • Darwinian Neurodynamics
  • Evolutionary search
  • Four-tree problem
  • Insight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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