Insight, often referred to as an “aha moment,” has been defined as a sudden, conscious change in a person’s representation of a stimulus, situation, event, or problem. Recent advances in neuroimaging technology and neurophysiological techniques have allowed researchers an opportunity to hone in on the neural circuitry that governs insight, a phenomenon that has been theorized about by cognitive psychologists for over a century. Studies show that insight is not a sudden flash that comes from nowhere, but in fact is the result of the unconscious mind piecing together loosely connected bits of information stemming from prior knowledge and experiences and forming novel associations among them. This conceptualization of insight naturally gives rise to comparisons between insight and creativity. Creativity, however, involves many cognitive processes, occurring in many regions of the brain and thus cannot be laterally localized as insight can. Thus, creativity is not considered synonymous with insight; however, insight can certainly result in creative solutions during creative problem solving.
Part of the book: Toward Super-Creativity