Among other characteristics that typically distinguish insight from “noninsight” solutions, people feel stuck before insight strikes; they can’t explain how they solved the problem and might say they were not even thinking about it; the solution appears suddenly and is immediately seen as correct. But are the neural processes involved in arriving at a solution through insight actually distinct from those related to more mundane problem-solving?
Recent findings suggest that people think about solutions, at an unconscious level, prior to solving insight problems, and that the right cerebral hemisphere (RH) appears to be preferentially involved. Jung-Beeman et al. predicted that a particular region of the RH, called the anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG), is likely involved in insight because it seems critical for tasks that require recognizing broad associative semantic relationships—exactly the type of process that could facilitate reinterpretation of problems and lead to insight.
Our lives can be filled with creative moments, whatever we do, as long as we’re flexible and open to new possibilities—willing to push beyond routine. The everyday expression of creativity often takes the form of trying out a new approach to a familiar dilemma. Yet half the world still thinks of creativity as a mysterious quality that the other half has. Research suggests, however, that everyone is capable of tapping into his or her creative spirit. We don’t just mean getting better ideas; we’re talking about a kind of general awareness that leads to greater enjoyment of your work and the people in your life: a spirit that can improve collaboration and communication with others.