The article starts out by recounting the tale of a man named Wag Dodge. Dodge was caught in the middle of a raging conflagration at a place called Mann Gulch, located in Montana. Dodge was able to make it to safety using intuition, or as the article calls it, an insight. The article describes an insight as a sudden realization of some form of idea or plan, which you invest 100% confidence in without thinking about it too much. A “eureka” moment, as some would say. The article then goes on to explore the neuroscience of an insight. EEG and fMRI technology were used to monitor brain activity during insights. Four steps were observed in a “eureka” moment. The first step is the preparatory phase, where the visual cortex goes silent in order to focus. The second step is the search phase. The third step is where the aSTG becomes unusually active before the insight. The fourth and final step is the relaxation phase. Afterwards, the article explains that insights normally occur when someone is relaxed, and when they aren’t about much of anything.
The first thing I noticed about this article is that the author, Jonah Lehrer, began writing about Dodge’s story. The personal and exciting story leading into the main topic drew me in immediately, and gave me a much better focus and context for the rest of the article. I thought it was interesting that Dodge escaped the fire (danger) using an insight. This led me to think about how evolutionary, insights like his are very important. Trusting your gut instinct, or having breakthroughs are what helped people survive. I also found it very interesting that insights were able to be measured using the EEG and fMRI technologies. I had always thought they were some sort of mysterious case where you just knew, like an outside force was guiding you through something. The discussion of the brain during an insight gave me a very different perspective on these moments.