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“The Eureka Hunt” – New Yorker article May 5, 2009

Posted by mcomeara in Uncategorized.
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While constructing my creativity/pressure matrix I was reminded of a very insightful article I read in The New Yorker last year. “The Eureka Hunt” by Jonah Lehrer addresses the question “Why do good ideas come to us when they do?”. It includes a great example of creative thinking under fire (literally, it’s about how a smokejumper survived a forest fire that was approaching him at speed) . Then it goes on to describe the neuroanatomical structures that are associated with “eureka moments”. It’s a fun read for anyone with a background in neuroscience or psychology. For the rest of us, the article provides some useful lessons as well. Namely, that creative idea generation often contains a “focus-phase” and then a “relaxation phase”. The relaxation phase helps foster holistic, unwound and unconventional thinking (associated with the right hemisphere of the brain). Some of the relaxation phase environments/situations mentioned in the article were brought up in class today. These include warm showers, early morning drowsiness, and when you are about to fall asleep. smokejumper-at-work

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