Prepared brains achieve insight | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Prepared brains achieve insight

By
1:37pm, October 17, 2006

Sudden verbal insights arise from distinct brain operations that focus attention and facilitate access to word knowledge, a new investigation suggests.

A team led by John Kounios of Drexel University in Philadelphia used electric sensors on people's scalps and functional magnetic resonance imaging to track brain activity in 44 volunteers. The researchers took measurements in the seconds while each participant contemplated solutions to word problems. For each problem, volunteers viewed three words—say, pine, crab, and sauce—and tried to think of another word—such as apple—that could be combined with each of them to form larger words.

Participants solved nearly half of such problems correctly. During the experiment, they reported when solutions came to them in sudden, "Aha!" flashes or as a result of slow deliberations.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content