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Neural Activity When People Solve Verbal Problems with Insight

Figure 1

Sequence of Events for Each Trial

(A) The “Compound” prompt was presented for 0.5 s, then persisted for a variable amount of additional time (0–2 s) until a cue from the scanner indicated the beginning of a new whole brain acquisition. (B) A three-word problem appeared in the center of the screen and persisted until subjects indicated with a bimanual button press that they had solved the problem, or until the 30-s time limit elapsed. Thus, event timing and condition were completely dependent on subjects' responses. (C) Following the button press or time limit, subjects were prompted to verbalize the solution (or press the buttons and say “Don't know” if the time limit expired prior to solution) then (D) prompted to indicate (with a bimanual button press) whether they felt insight, as described prior to the experiment. (E) Next, subjects performed 9 s of an unrelated filler task (three line-matching trials, 3 s each), allowing BOLD signal to return to baseline (in areas not involved in line matching).

Figure 1

doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0020097.g001