Conceptual Transformation in Origami

Abstract

Origami paper folding involves challenging spatial problem solving, including a number of complex cognitive processes that have not been extensively explored. To gain insights into the nature of these processes, we had participants think aloud while following Origami instructions (verbal and pictorial). Our analysis of participants’ verbalizations revealed recurring patterns that reflect the underlying cognitive processes. Namely it showed evidence of reading and reformulating the task description, considering actions and task status, comparing task status to instructional pictures, evaluating progress, referring to previous experience, recognizing problems, and adding ideas about the current instructional step. The last two categories highlight how participants conceptualized this spatial task. The verbalizations also reflect a typical order that the cognitive processes follow: reading – reformulating – reconceptualizing – evaluating. The recurring pattern in this ordering suggests that participants gradually moved away from the original instruction towards a broader conceptualization for action in the current context.


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