Aha! So that's what it is
[learning, open content, publications]

I just love brain science:*
People sometimes solve problems with a unique process called insight, accompanied by an “Aha!” experience. It has long been unclear whether different cognitive and neural processes lead to insight versus noninsight solutions, or if solutions differ only in subsequent subjective feeling. [...] Functional magnetic resonance imaging (Experiment 1) revealed increased activity in the right hemisphere anterior superior temporal gyrus for insight relative to noninsight solutions. The same region was active during initial solving efforts. Scalp electroencephalogram recordings (Experiment 2) revealed a sudden burst of high-frequency (gamma-band) neural activity in the same area beginning 0.3 s prior to insight solutions. This right anterior temporal area is associated with making connections across distantly related information during comprehension. Although all problem solving relies on a largely shared cortical network, the sudden flash of insight occurs when solvers engage distinct neural and cognitive processes that allow them to see connections that previously eluded them.
First, I love their way of defining insight. Second, I'm amazed by the way they measure the moment to an accuracy of 0.3 seconds. But the best is how they show that insight is related to finding lateral connection - using a lateral connection problem set!

*: 2004Neural activity when people solve verbal problems with insight. PLoS Biology, (2)4:500--510.
posted by Yishay Mor on Wednesday 11th, April 2007 (13:56) - comments (0) - permanent link


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