If you successfully solved the anagrams, you may have experienced an “Aha!” or “Eureka” moment: a flash of insight where the solution suddenly becomes clear, perhaps after you have spent a while completely stumped. Usually when we experience these moments we have indeed arrived at the correct answer — they don’t tend to occur as much when we’ve stumbled upon an incorrect solution. And in fact, researchers have suggested that we even use Aha! moments as a quick way to judge the veracity of a solution or idea — they provide a kind of gut feeling which tells us that what has just popped into our mind is probably correct.
But relying on these experiences to gauge the truth of an idea can sometimes backfire, according to the authors of the new paper.
The team found that experiencing sudden moments of insight when deciphering a statement can make people more likely to believe that it is true — even when it isn’t.