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week 4

“Eureka Hunt” Response

Jonah Lehrer’s The Eureka Hunt is a quest to find out how people generate epiphanies to solve problems. In this article, Lehrer explains how these epiphanies, also referred to as insight, are different from the normal thought process. Using a logical though process to solve a puzzle, people can easily trace back how they derived an answer by retracing their thought process. Through insight, Lehrer notes that people just happen on a solution, yet cannot decipher how they got it. This is most characterized by the famous example of Dodge fighting fire with fire. On this quest, Lehrer documents many experiments in which different brain imaging machines are used to discover where these insights come from in the brain in everyday people like Wag Dodge.

Lehrer’s article was very interesting because many of the cases that he touched on can relate to experiences that most people have been through. Especially when doing schoolwork, I notice that sometimes you have to work through problems logically, and when someone asks you how you did it, you can explain it to them step by step. Other times, you just arrive at the answer and the only reason you can give for it is “it is common knowledge” when it usually isn’t. I like how Lehrer walks through all of these different experiments, and it really got me to think if they would really work, which I believe was Lehrer’s purpose in writing the article. His main point was to get people to notice when they were using logic and when they were using insight so we could also try to capture this illusive process.


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