Encouraging Insight

When we encourage the evolution of insight, we attack the root cause of opposition. The more we develop our cognitive capacity to manage greater complexity, the more we prevail over the compulsion to oversimplify our problems.

Schwartz put it this way: "The findings suggest that at a moment of insight, a complex set of new connections is being created. These connections have the potential to enhance our mentat resources and overcome the brains resistance to change."

Sounds simple. Just increase insight—our brain's natural ability to process complexity—and our "resistance to change" will subside.

Except for one small problem: We now know that opposition stymies insight.

Beginning in 1938 with Pavlov's early experiments on the role that positive and negative reinforcement had on inducing salivation in dogs and continuing through the 1970s with B. F. Skinner's p publication oi Beyond Freedom and Dignity (or as we commonly referred to it in graduate school, Dognity), behavioral psychologists have been collecting irrefutable evidence that criticism, negative reinforcement. and institutionalized rigidity all inhibit creativity, productivity, and growth. Take any child who has been subjected to a critical environment and observe the results: withdrawal, low self-esteem, fearfulness, and a long list of aberrant behaviors. Both humans and animals fail to thrive in critical environments where fear of failure and rejection are fostered.

Today, neuroscientists find that the conditions necessary to stimulate insight are remarkably consistent with environments needed to encourage creativity. Studies show that relaxation, allowing the mind to wander, eliminating distractions, and positive reinforcement all encourage the occurrence of insight. Though, in fairness, these same researchers point out that insight also occurs in times of extreme duress. as in the case of Wag Dodge. The spontaneous nature of insight means that it can occur at any time, but we have mounting evidence that positive, relaxed, and creative environments may increase the likelihood of this shy form of problem-solving.


Insight requires a relaxed environment free of critical oppression.

Folksonomies: insight

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Schwartz:Person (0.691175 (positive:0.253508)), Pavlov:Person (0.690973 (neutral:0.000000)), B. F. Skinner:Person (0.679000 (neutral:0.000000)), Dognity:City (0.635548 (neutral:0.000000))

B. F. Skinner (0.965380): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Reinforcement (0.716493): dbpedia | freebase
Experimental analysis of behavior (0.666393): dbpedia | freebase
Psychology (0.622898): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Problem solving (0.608718): dbpedia | freebase

 The Watchman's Rattle
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Costa , Rebecca (2010-10-12), The Watchman's Rattle, Vanguard, Retrieved on 2013-04-13
  • Source Material [books.google.com]
  • Folksonomies: education