Why do great ideas come to us in the bathroom?

Most people put in a lot of effort To search and explore the roots of the problem in the hope of finding a solution to it. But research over the past 15 years says that the solutions come to us during routine tasks that don’t require much thought, i.e. the activity we do on autopilot. This inspiration allows the mind to fly and interact with the sequence of consciousness to retrieve unusual memories or generate new ideas.

About this, says Kalina Kristof, Cognitive Neuroscientist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver: “People are surprised when great ideas come to them at unexpected times. It is due to the cultural context in which we grew up, which says that solutions come from hard work. Most people around the world meet in this conviction. “. Now we’re starting to understand why the best ideas come to us during normal activities, says Kristof. The latest research suggests that the reason lies in the pattern of brain activity during relaxation or routine activities, called the default mode network. When the brain operates according to this pattern, about 12 brain regions connect to each other and begin to function in harmony.

Roger Petty, cognitive neuroscientist Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Penn State University in the United States: “The default mode network is the state that the brain returns to when it is not actively working. Conversely, when we are engaged in tasks that require focus, analysis and reasoning, the brain operates according to the pattern of executive control systems. in order to accomplish the required tasks. Betty explains that the default mode network plays an important role in creativity, but it is not the only important mode. Other networks modify, reject and implement ideas. “We can’t put our blind faith in thoughts generated in the bathroom or other routine activities,” Betty comments.

A team of researchers has discovered At the University of Washington, the Virtual Mode Network in 2001. They imaged volunteers’ brains as they performed tasks that required focus, and compared the results to images of the brain taken while they were relaxing. The researchers noted that specific areas of the brain were working more actively while the volunteers performed routine tasks. But the roles of brain regions cannot be clearly defined, as each region performs a set of different roles depending on the circumstances. Therefore, researchers prefer to talk about connected networks of brain regions, including the default mode network; These areas connect and begin to work together during certain activities. “The brain is in a constant working state,” says Petty. “But the working states are different. So the sarhan states are different, where we direct the subconscious sometimes, while other times it works without direction.” In a 2020 study, researchers found that undirected lay-offs occur 47 percent of the time. It is this undirected distraction that allows us to blend ideas and memories in new forms. “When the mind is left out of the problem, that’s when we get creative ideas,” says Petty. “During this delicious state, the mind plays with thoughts and memories, allowing new mixtures and solutions to emerge.”

And Christophe gives us golden advice To exploit this pattern: “The routine activity should continue long enough to allow the brain to enter a different working state without us feeling guilty about it. We should feel relaxed enough, busy with the routine activity that prevents us from feeling guilty about our relaxed state of mind. Then the mind begins to search for new places.” Don’t be afraid to indulge in a habitual state of mind. Sarhan is a useful investment in time that allows the mind to explore uncharted territories that lead to creativity.