Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Understanding Thinking: The Feeling of Knowing

"When you suddenly see the problem, something happens that you have the answer-- before you are able to put it into words. It is all done subconsciously. This has happened many times to me, and I know when to take it seriously. I'm so absolutely sure. I don't talk about it. I don't have to tell anybody about it. I'm just sure this is it." -- Barbara McClintock, Nobel Prize winner in Biology

Here is another paper which builds on yesterday's post. Researchers at Harvard and University College London were studying the differences in brain patterns when people remembered (they knew), when they thought it was on the tip of their tongue (but they couldn't say), when they have a feeling they knew, and when they knew they didn't know. It's interesting to see that the 'tip of the tongue' and 'feeling of knowing' responses had distinct differences from absolute knowing and uncertainty.

Barbara McClintock might not have found that surprising. This study was not dealing so much with intuitive problem solving, but memory retrieval, but it's interesting to see that the parietal lobes again appear to have a role in pooling together possibilities and representations.

Feeling of Knowing and Tip of the Tongue FMRI- 3rd paper under 2005

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