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Physics Colloquium: "Insight in the brain: The cognitive and neural bases of Eureka! moments"

Event Type
Physics Department
141 Loomis
Sep 18, 2013   4:00 pm  
Professor Mark Beeman, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
Originating Calendar
Physics - Colloquium

Where do new ideas come from? Although all new ideas build on old, this can happen in different ways. Some new ideas, or solutions to old problems, are achieved through methodical, analytical processing. Other new ideas come about in a sudden burst of insight, often based on or generating a restructured view of the problem itself. Behavioral, neuroimaging, and eye-tracking results all reveal distinct cortical networks contributing to insight solving, as contrasted with analytic solving. Consistently, the way in which people solve problems appears to relate to the way they engage attention and cognitive control: across time, across moods, and across individuals. Insight is favored when people can disengage from strong stimuli and associations - figuratively and literally looking "outside the box" of the problem to suddenly solve with a new idea.

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