Re: Fwd: Eureka!

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Thu Dec 20 2001 - 06:24:22 GMT

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    Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 01:24:22 -0500
    From: "Philip Jonkers" <>
    Subject: Re: Fwd: Eureka!
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    >The thrill of discovery is the purest, least
    understood event in science.
    >Now, studies of the brain are revealing the anatomy
    of a 'Eureka moment.'
    >By Gareth Cook, Globe Staff, 12/18/2001
    >The story begins in utter confusion.
    >Imagine reading a sentence that doesn't seem to make
    sense: ''The girl
    >spilled her popcorn because the lock broke.'' The
    mind starts casting
    >about for answers: Who is the girl? Why would she
    have popcorn, and why
    >would a lock make her drop it?
    >Soraci said that he now believes confusion is an
    essential part of
    >remembering things. As the object comes into focus,
    he said, the brain
    >generates a stream of guesses (Is it a doughnut? A
    peace symbol?) until
    >the truth emerges (a clock). These wrong guesses may
    lay the foundation
    >for a strong memory, he said. Other experiments
    conducted by Solaci, in
    >which people have to generate words in response to
    clues, have shown the
    >same effect.

    Apart from creating this rich contextual or
    speculative foundation which indeed may contribute
    to ensuring good memory of the element of confusion,
    let's conjecture a little in my favorite direction.
    Confusion is a state of anxiety that needs relief,
    sooner rather than later.
    If relief is gained, by identifying the source which
    caused the confusion (solving the puzzle),
    the brain responds by issuing feelings of reward
    (the familiar sigh of relief). With it, dopamine
    levels increase in the brain. Dopamine is
    associated with facilitating memory of events.
    Consequently, it might be that the resolution to
    aleviating the confusion is better remembered. If
    through prior (wild) speculation about the nature of
    the source of confusion it may become embedded in
    a rich and relevant contextual environment. Then the
    source may find even easier way to be stored in
    memory indeed.

    Also it makes sense for the brain to reward events of
    relief of confusion as it so reinforces/encourages
    attempts to resolve future events of confusion.



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