Aha! Favors The Prepared Mind
...the brain functions differently when a person arrives at "Aha!" solutions, compared to methodical solutions. The current study reveals that the distinct patterns of brain activity leading to "Aha!" moments of insight begin much earlier than the time a problem is solved. The research suggests that people can mentally prepare to have an "Aha!" solution even before a problem is presented. Specifically, as people prepare for problems that they solve with insight, their pattern of brain activity suggests that they are focusing attention inwardly, are ready to switch to new trains of thought, and perhaps are actively silencing irrelevant thoughts. These findings are important because they show that people can mentally prepare to solve problems with different thinking styles and that these different forms of preparation can be identified with specific patterns of brain activity. This study may eventually lead to an understanding of how to put people in the optimal "frame of mind" to deal with particular types of problems.
...) it may be that how a person is thinking before problem solving begins is just as important as the kind of thinking involved in reaching the solution, and perhaps even determines whether the solution will be derived with a sudden insight.
This partially explains the Aha! moments upon waking, or while taking a quiet walk and it also explains why heavyhandedness and forced production will often yield less creativity/innovation than does allowing flexibility in the workplace.
posted by Cyndy