Our Brains Know More Than We Do. Unconscious Insight and an Open Challenge To Video Game Developers and Neuroscientists

Posted on January 31, 2011 by

Jonah Lehrer writes about neuroscience and that part of the brain found to control insight where the brain makes incredible remote connections. See The Eureka Hunt in The New Yorker July 28,2008.  The aha moment–when an answer pops into our head seemingly out of the blue and when we know it is right, happens in a small fold of tissue on the surface of the right hemisphere  called the anterior superior temporal gyrus. Scientists see  a surge of electrical pulses in that location and a rush of blood seconds before the answer can be voiced. Insight is thought to happen when the brain is able to make unusual, unprecedented connections between things and the phenominon has obvious potential to open vistas of thought and human evolution. Amazingy, insights are accomplished by our unconscious mind via the work of the cells that we are not aware of. The minute inner workings of cells, their electric impulses and unusual connections to other parts of our brain, organize concepts filtering the chaos to decipher the right answer of a problem or dilemma. We don’t even know this is happening and it usually occurs when the brain is relaxed like in the shower or when we are daydreaming. The brain waves during the events have been measured to be alpha waves. Lehrer and neuroscientists have discovered recently that we have a capacity to train various parts of our brain and despite the fact that the eureka moment happens unconsciously, there are studies showing that we can learn to enter into alpha states where our brain is relaxed and more open to insight. So while we cannot focus ourselves to engage in insights, we can create a mental environment to facilitate the unconscious process. Video game developers are aware of this potential. At some point a video game will be created to train the mind to rev up the anterior superior temporal gyrus and the gamers will be making unconscious subtle connections between facts to solve problems where winners climb the evolutionary ladder. This is an unusual opportunity for a melding of the disciplines of neuroscience and video game development, an industry ripe for its own evolution.

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