Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Child Development

First Advisor

Jacques Lempers


The present study was designed to test the generalizability to children of Sternberg's experiential subtheory of human intelligence which postulates that insight skills provide an important source of individual differences in intelligence. One hundred and seven 6- and 7-year-olds were administered a series of 17 insight tasks and the Peabody Individual Achievement Test. The insight tasks were developed to assess three distinct though related kinds of insightful processes, which according to Sternberg, are involved in insight. Correlational and factor analyses failed to provide evidence for the construct validity of the three component insight skills. The results of analyses of variance showed that children who were psychometrically more intelligent, as measured by the PIAT, performed significantly better on the insight tasks than the less intelligent children. The more intelligent children also solved significantly more problems spontaneously, whereas the less intelligent children had trouble producing the insights on their own. Further, cues were found to have been more effectively and successfully used for problem solution by the more intelligent children than by the less intelligent children. No sex differences in performance on the insight tasks or in the effective use of the cues in problem solution were found. The results of this study then lend empirical support to Sternberg's subtheory of experiential intelligence as it relates to insight and extends its applicability to young children.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Chetna Narayan



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

68 pages