Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Problem solved – just keep an ‘open mind’ …

Ever wondered what goes on in your brain when you are trying to solve a problem? Researchers have found that keeping an ‘open mind’ is the key to being able to solve problems.

Joydeep Bhattacharya, from the Department of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London and his graduate student Simone Sandkühler from the University of Vienna, ran a study to find out what changes go on in the brain when it is trying to solve a problem.

The study, published in the Journal PLoS ONE this month, used electroencephalography (EEG) to monitor the brains of volunteers whilst giving them verbal problems to solve. Watching the changes in the brain as the volunteers solved the problems, they particularly wanted to see if the changes were sudden or gradual.

If a volunteer wasn’t able to solve a problem and had hit upon, what researchers call, a ‘mental impasse’ (ie mental block), they could ask for a clue to help them find the answer. The study found that mental impasse was associated with strong gamma rhythms, a brain wave often linked to focussed attention. The strength of gamma rhythms at the time of clue presentation also predicted whether the clue would lead to a correct solution or not: higher the gamma, less likely the solution. Interestingly the researchers found that it was the alpha rhythm, which is usually linked to less-attentive yet spontaneously relaxed brain-state, facilitates thinking that leads to a correct solution.

Dr. Bhattacharya said; “If there is an excessive attention it somehow creates a mental fixation, and the brain is in a less receptive condition. Our findings suggest that it is actually better to tackle problems with an open mind as volunteers who had a high level of alpha brain rhythms, rather than gamma, were much more likely to utilize the clue successfully in order to produce the solution.”

Sarah Empey | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>