Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

By Jove, We've Got It: EEG Correlates Of Insightful Problem Solving

Date:
January 23, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers investigated brain rhythms and their dynamics while human volunteers solved verbal problems. Often, the participants reached a state of mental block and could not progress further: excessive amount of gamma brain rhythm (the same rhythm gets enhanced with selective attention) might cause this mental road block. It clearly indicates that focusing or attending too much on a topic might have a detrimental effect.

The history of our development over the last three millennia chronicles many remarkable and fundamental discoveries, such as Archimedes' law of buoyancy, Newton's law of gravity, Poincaré's conjecture, which are considered as classical cases of cognitive insight (also popularly known as a Eureka moment), a phenomenon where the problem solver working on a complex problem suddenly makes a breakthrough after a period of frustration and finally experiences the much reported Aha!. But despite the widespread evidence and importance of cognitive insight, very little is known about its constituent cognitive components and their underlying neural mechanism.

Researchers at Goldsmiths College, London investigated brain rhythms and their dynamics while human volunteers solved verbal problems. Often, the participants reached a state of mental block and could not progress further: excessive amount of gamma brain rhythm (the same rhythm gets enhanced with selective attention) might cause this mental road block. It clearly indicates that focusing or attending too much on a topic might have a detrimental effect.

Afterwards, clues were provided yet they were not always successfully utilized, and the researchers found that it was possible to predict the success or failure based on the brain state prior to the clue presentation.

They also found that when the volunteers were consciously aware that they were having a strong breakthrough in their mental strategies, they were less likely to feel the suddenness of Aha!. Bhattacharya and colleagues show that a strong Aha! sensation involves minimal metacognitive (monitoring of one's own thoughts) processes and unconscious restructuring or, better, an automatic, subconscious recombination of information which stands in contrast to conscious mental restructuring which is an attention-demanding process involving executive control. The study shows that it is possible to identify these processes before they reach the level of verbal awareness.

Arguably, insight lies at the core of human intelligence, so its proper understanding in terms of a set of underlying neural mechanisms will not only influence the immediate fields of psychology and cognitive neuroscience but also exert sold impact on a range of scientific and educational disciplines. The pedagogical importance is also noteworthy.

For example, a better understanding of complex problem solving behaviour of human subjects will facilitate a better strategy of teaching and enhancing the performance of pupils, formulation of efficient solution strategies which, in turn, enhances the creativity.

Citation: Sandkühler S, Bhattacharya J (2008) Deconstructing Insight: EEG Correlates of Insightful Problem Solving. PLoS One 3(1): e1459. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001459 http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0001459


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "By Jove, We've Got It: EEG Correlates Of Insightful Problem Solving." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080122203120.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, January 23). By Jove, We've Got It: EEG Correlates Of Insightful Problem Solving. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080122203120.htm
Public Library of Science. "By Jove, We've Got It: EEG Correlates Of Insightful Problem Solving." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080122203120.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins