Aha! The anatomy of insight, like a rolling stone. April 7, 2012 3:56 PMSubscribe
How do we have insights, and where does inspiration come from? Jonah Lehrer goes inside Bob Dylan's brain to find out...the "neural correlate of insight": the anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG). This small fold of tissue, located on the surface of the right hemisphere just above the ear, became unusually active in the seconds before the epiphany. [pdf] We propose that people have an Aha! experience when they suddenly recognize that some information, which they have already semantically activated, either is the solution or points to the solution path. The suddenness suggests that the solution-related activation was previously below the threshold of awareness, perhaps overshadowed by other activation not related to the solution. This account jibes with the consensus view that insight problems misdirect solvers to consider unhelpful information or solution paths: Some misdirected activation may be stronger than activation of solution-related concepts. Only when strong misdirected activation subsides can solutionrelated activation surpass the threshold of consciousness and be recognized.