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week 4

Summary and Response to “The Eureka Hunt”

The article entitled “The Eureka Hunt” by Jonah Lehrer describes the concept of what an insight is and how a person reaches one. Insights contradict the classic model of learning in which the learning process is gradual. The author explains that first the brain has to undergo a “search phase.” Then, before an insight can be reached, there has to be a mental block. Lastly, just when the brain is about to give up, an insight appears with a feeling of certainty. The author states that insights are more prominent when people are in relaxation and less focused.  Lehrer describes the curiosity of scientists about the concept of insights and as a result, the research that has been conducted about it. By using various studies and scanners, it was discovered that the prefrontal cortex is responsible for the majority of an insight. Additionally, scientists learned that the right hemisphere of the brain also has a bigger role than people had previously thought.

Jonah Lehrer is an American author and journalist who writes about psychology, and the relationship between science and the humanities. Therefore, he is writing to an informed audience in order to educate. In order to discuss the topic of his article, he does not simply start off with what an insight is, but instead uses an anecdote about how a fireman escaped a dangerous fire by having an insight. I think this was an effective strategy because it draws in the attention of the reader, and provides a real example of how instantaneous these insights actually can be. Lehrer described that one minute the fireman was running for his life, and the next he was lighting a match with his escape plan in mind. This shows the true phenomenon of what an insight is and how it is a great problem solving technique.

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