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AhaChild - The Development of Young Children's Understanding of Insight and Aha-Experiences

An aha-experience is a feeling that can motivate and enrich learning. However, little is known about how children understand emotions in learning situations, especially when it comes to aha-experiences. Thus, we will investigate how children at the age of 4-8 years understand aha-experiences that occur in learning situations.

About the project

An aha-experience is a feeling that follows the sudden understanding of something that was not previously understood. Because aha-experiences contain both emotional and cognitive elements, they are an interesting case of the interactions between emotions and cognitions.

Children's understanding of emotions start with the ability to recognize and name different emotions. With time, the child understands that specific situations lead to specific emotions, and that emotions can be regulated and hidden. A more advanced understanding of mixed emotions and the relation between feelings and thoughts develops as the child reaches school age. Based on this, we expect that younger children will have an incomplete understanding of insight and the aha-experience.


From anecdotal evidence, we assume that children as young as 3 years old can experience aha-moments following sudden understanding. Our project collects systematic evidence about the lowest age limit a child can experience aha-moments and follows the course of development of the understanding of insight and aha-experiences from age 4 to 8 years.

Although this is a basic research project, it may have long-term implications for school practice. This research will contribute knowledge about feeling-related states, and about using feeling-based strategies to improve school outcomes. 


The Research Council of Norway (FRIHUMSAM - Researcher Project) 2019 - 2023.


The project is a collaboration between Department of Psychology (UiO) and Harvard University, USA.

Tags: AhaChild
Published Apr. 5, 2019 1:11 PM - Last modified Feb. 9, 2021 11:24 AM