conscious thought does not solve problems

This article indicates two ideas that speak directly about the minds of innovators, the minds of their collaborators, and the minds of their customers.

While it is not news when I say it, it is news when the Economist reports it: we don’t solve difficult problems with conscious thought [alone]. We solve them, or break through, with background processes.  But more interestingly those processes aren’t always available or accessible to us. In Dr. Sheth’s research we notice that their is a relatively long lead time, 8 seconds, in which we arrive at the state in which we allow insight to emerge.

Is this something you can improve upon with practice? Like say a jump shot, or more legible handwriting? A question it raises for me is: how do collaborative teams find synchrony with one another, across differences in discipline of study, job function and power or status?

…the difference was noticeable up to eight seconds before the volunteer realised he had found the solution. Dr Sheth thinks this may be capturing the “transformational thought” (the light-bulb moment, as it were) in action, before the brain’s “owner” is consciously aware of it…

…But this is the first occasion that such a long lead time has been shown for more complex thought processes.

This finding… …poses fascinating questions about how the brain really works. Conscious thought, it seems, does not solve problems. Instead, unconscious processing happens in the background and only delivers the answer to consciousness once it has been arrived at. Food for further thought, indeed.

via Unconscious thought precedes conscious | Incognito | The Economist.

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