A team of cognitive neuroscientists, including two from Northwestern University, have connected an increase in neural activity in the brain’s right temporal lobe with problems solved using insight. Mark Jung-Beeman comments that insight “feels different from more straightforward problem solving,” and Edward Bowden suggests that it is insight — reinterpreting a problem — that can surpass mental impasses.
In the study, subjects were given a series of word problems. Upon solving it, they were asked whether the solution felt like an “Aha!” moment. So, the next time you want to shout “Eureka!” your brain’s been working differently. Pay attention to how that feels.