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What is the process of insight?

- impasse
- sudden appearance, some element of surprise
- certainty of the solution


What is proof by contradiction?

- e.g. prime numbers
- assume: there is a largest prime number, call it p
- background knowledge: all compound numbers (i.e. non-primes) can be expressed as the product of primes. i.e. keep factoring, eventually you will end with prime factors

proofs are quite insightful

N = 1x2x3x5x7x11... xp +1
If N is not prime, its prime factors are bigger than p
If N is prime, it's a prime bigger than p
This is true for any "p", so there cannot be a "largest prime number"


What is cantor and infinity?

- many different sets are the same (infinite size) e.g. the set all natural numbers, the set of all even numbers, the set of all prme numbers, the set of all non-prime numbers
- an infinite set is equivalent to a subset of itself
- but do all infinite sets have this property - i.e. are they all the same?
- some sets are bigger than these infinite sets, such as the set of all real numbers
- proof: the correspondence and the diagonal exceptions


What is insight-related problem solving?

- compound remote associate problems
- what one word can be joined with of these to make a compound word:
-- crab
-- sauce
-- pine
- apple

2. Bongard sets
- involve classification on relatively abstract principles


What's going on when people have a solution?

- fmri - person is solving a problem
- brain activity when insight solution
- middle of the temporal lobe
- different when told

looked at eeg because maybe fmri not great
- the recording of the small electrical fields generated by "orthogonlly oriented" cortical neurons
- small difference in alpha activity (alpha being typical of awake activity)
- big difference in gamma activity when you come up with the answer
- gamma is association of different areas of the brain


What did EEG reveal about insight?

- conditions for insight
- analyse, but... relax, defocus
- this can be monitored with EEG ( eg. alpha wave activity), but the hypothesis that Eureka moments are associated with a "gamma burst" are still controversial


What is top down processing?

- conscious thought is a subset of cognitive activity: the brain knows more than it lets us know


Prefrontal function from a comparitve and evolutionary view?

- chimp brain very similar to ours
- freed hands and opposobale digits but unshaped tools


What is the link between tool use, manual gesture and motor imagination?

- tool use, gesture and language seem, in some way, interrelated
- images of tools, but not animals or people, activate language areas in people
- see a tool and imagine the gestures associated with its use


What is the history of tool use?

- first seen in the fossil record 2.3 myo with Homo habilis (able man)
- may also have had language facility
- other animals, esp. primates, use simple tools, but they don't have a creative vocabulary of tool use
- they don't make tools that are used to make other tools

- approx. 2.4 mya: oldowan tools fortuitious and ad hoc simple tools
"as is" for pounding, but also the manufacture of stone tools - sharp flakes of rocks that can hold an edge
- found at sites of butchered animal bones

- approx 1.8 mya: acheulean bi-faced tools
- required careful selection of starting material, considerable bimanual dexterity and some sense of recursion i.e. tools that make tools

- approx 200,000 ya: levallions tools show a vocabulary of tools and processes gives variation
- additional (later) technologies such as string and binding adhesives (resins, wax), ground stone tc

- did "pre-homo" species use tools or were our hominid ancestors around 3.5 million years ago?


What do the tools tell us about the minds that made them?

- levallios tools require a temporal structuring of behaviour and the creation of intermediate solution prior to the final solution


What part of your brain are you using when you think about relatively common objects and name them?

- inferior temporal regions
- classification
- also have prefrontal involvement:
-- BA 45 involvement is long known in object naming, but why is area 47 active during tool naming?
- more conceptual understanding of the tool


What is the practical mind?

- practical mind involved in the solving of practical problems: concrete operations
- from objects: superior temporal gyrus, fusiform gyrus
--> the "ventral stream"
- to objective conceptualisation:
- BA 45 - descriptive representation
- BA 47 - symbolic potential

(left: quantitative/parametric; right: objective/iconographic)

- evidence suggests that Broca's area organises not just language, but similarly organises body movements in relation to motor learning and communication

- objects are usually easier to hold when grasped near the centre of mass
- semantic knowledge of hammers suggests the handle grasp (not centre of mass), which allows effective use of the tool


What part of the brain are you using when you think about the possible uses of a novel object?

- prefrontal
- potential
- abstraction: area 46
- how we make metaphors out of things
- last area of the brain to become fully myelinated
- late developing


What is the abstract mind?

- the last area of the brain to mature, at least in terms of obtaining full myelination, is, possibly, the function function of Brodman area 46 - the top of the hierarchy in behavioural control
- the dorsal stream carries information from sensory association areas about the "when and where" of events and objects to BA 46
- BA 46 ideates space and time and other abstractions (e.g. atomic structure and the existence of gods)
- the currency of VA46 is abstract concepts and the synthesis of psosibilites, general principles of action and hypotheses
- at about 12 years of age children become able to perform the logical operation and abstract conceptualisations to form and integrate a personal set of constructs (beliefs)


What do practical solutions require?

- at least some degree of practical creativity - some imagination
- to appreciate the properties of objects and materials, you need to have a semantic scheme for tehse, and a map of their use and applicability – a conceptualisation of tools
- beyond the practical or parametric properties are symbolic or iconic properties, and the ability to conceptualise and create objects of psychological significance (art)
- but.. invention is rare, imitation is common - most of our skilled learning is by copying, not inventing


What are the main points?

1. where does exploratory drive come from and what is its function?
- evolution: are survival imperatives (survival of the fittest) or excess capacity (relaxed selection) driving adaptive advantage? genes control brain development and function, the outcomes (behaviours) are selectable traits e.g. Sirt1 - exploratory drive: anxiety, vigilance, reward system functionality

2. how do we understand?
- the characteristics of problem solving can include analytic approaches and/or synthetic "big picture" insightful solutions

3. how does insight happen? insight solutions appear to involve whole brain regulation, focus, filtering, re-strategising

4. how do we use this capacity? imitation is a more common form of problem solving than invention. the capacity to socialise problem solving as Science has generated our modern technological culture