Monday, August 17, 2009

Problem solving

A type of dreamy sleep that occurs more frequently in the early morning is important for solving problems that cannot be easily answered during the day, a study has found.

The discovery could explain many anecdotal accounts of famous intellectuals who had wrestled with a problem only to find that they have solved it by the morning after a good night's sleep.

Scientists believe that a form of dreaming slumber called rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, when the brain becomes relatively active and the eyes flicker from side to side under closed eyelids, plays a crucial role in subconscious problem solving.

Dreams normally occur during REM sleep which occupies about a quarter of the total time spent asleep at night.

REM sleep alternates with deep sleep and occurs as four or five bouts of sleep that get progressively longer as the night turns into morning.

In a series of tests on nearly 80 people, the researchers found that REM sleep increases the chances of someone being able to successfully solve a new problem involving creative associations – finding an underlying pattern behind complex information.

The volunteers were asked in a morning session to solve a series of creative problems.
They were told to either sit on the problem until the afternoon by either resting and staying awake or by taking a nap monitored by the scientists to see whether it involved any REM sleep – it produces characteristic eye movements and brain-wave patterns.
In the afternoon, they were asked to solve the problems again.

Those people who had enjoyed REM sleep improved significantly, by about 40 per cent, while the other volunteers who had not had REM sleep showed little if any improvement, according to the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers suggest that it is not merely sleep itself, or the simple passage of time, that is important for the solving of a new problem, but the act of being able to fall into a state of REM sleep where the brain slips into a different kind of neural activity that encourages the formation of new nerve connections.

We found that for creative problems that you've already been working on, the passage of time is enough to find solutions.

However, for new problems, only REM sleep enhances creativity, said Sara Mednick of the University of California San Diego, who led the study.


Yes but

No, yes and

Since time immemorial sleep and meditation have been used to induce results in solving problems

Go to sleep thinking about the problem and chances are you will have a result or insight first thing in the morning

Often this gets over looked or drowned out by our waking noises or rituals

What is happening is that our left brain sleeps during REM sleep

Relaxing the left brain hemisphere allows the right hemisphere to be heard and it is from here that insights arrive

Sleep is a good way to shut down the endless chatter of the left hemisphere

Technically we can say that we now know what is happening in the wiring department of our brains

Indeed the research above is all about wiring, what triggers what

Not about how it works

We do not have a clue as to how the right brain arrives at insights or answers to problems

As with so much modern research we are learning what is going on where but not what gives the insight

To go further we could do worse than look at occult teaching

This states clearly that these insights can only be approached once we control our minds

Control the left brain hemisphere that is

Shut it down, and this in left brain dominated people, read scientists occurs when they sleep

This requires that we acknowledge that reductionist logic cannot help us as it is stuck in mind

This is a step too far for many scientists

Who usually have highly developed left brain hemispheres

Reductionist logic requires highly developed left brain hemispheres

Scientists who normally operate in this area have no clue how to let go or operate in their right hemispheres

So the battle continues

These insights come from our right brain hemisphere

In truth insights come from our higher self, which is accessed through the right brain hemisphere

They are accurate because the higher self has access to any knowledge it needs

It is not reductionist

It is not logic based

It is truth based

So the intriguing question is how will left brain scientists deal with this?

Currently many deny that there is any such thing as a higher self

Others insist that logic is the only scientific way

Fortunately there is a new generation coming along who are more open

Notice open not open minded because what we are talking about is beyond mind

From these come insights often as a result of getting ideas from our ancestors for whom such questions were answered long ago

Socrates, Plato, Pythagoras all were initiates and as such were well versed in accessing the so called hidden realms

Modern man has a way to go before he reaches such ease of access

At least some are now beginning to ask the right questions
To try and go beyond mind

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