Insights into Insight Workshop
La Jolla, California
September 26-28, 2008
A Workshop Sponsored by the Swartz Foundation
Terry Sejnowski
Jonathan Schooler
The aim of this workshop is to explore the changes that take place in the brain following new insights into the solutions of problems.
What is the connection between perceptual insights and problem solving? What aspects of nonconscious processing are involved? How does sleep lead to insights?
This will be a very informal setting and there should be ample time to discuss the issues in depth. There will be experts on a wide range of topics related to problem solving, including sleep, visual perception, and infant development. Several of the participants in our workshop were quoted in the recent New Yorker article titled "The Eureka Hunt" (Jonah Lehrer, Annals of Science, "The Eureka Hunt," The New Yorker, July 28, 2008, p. 40). See:


View a streaming video of the meeting:
Part One:
Part Two: 


Program (as of September 25, 2008)
Friday, September 26
Salk Institute
Noon Lunch at Salk Institute
1:00 PM Jonathan Schooler (UC Santa Barbara)
  "Seeing into Insight"
  Presentation: JSchooler-Insight-SEP-2008.pptx
2:00 PM John Kounios (Drexel)
  "Neural Antecedents of Insight"
  Presentation: JKounios-Insight-SEP-2008.pptx
3:00 PM Break
3:15 PM Nava Rubin (NYU)
  "Uncovering Camouflage: The Neural Basis of Long-Term Memory for One-Shot Perceptual Exposure"
  Presentation: NRubin-Insight-SEP-2008.ppt
4:15 PM Bob Stickgold (Harvard)
  "Sleeping on a Problem: Expectations of Insight"
  Presentation: RStickgold-Insight-SEP-2008.ppt
6:00 PM Reception and Presidential Debate
7:30 PM Dinner
Saturday, September 27
Rancho Santa Fe Inn
7:30 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM Jennifer Wiley (U of Illinois, Chicago)
  "What is Aha!?"
9:30 AM Mark Jung-Beeman (Northwestern)
  "Neural mechanisms of insight and its facilitation by positive mood"
  Presentation: MJBeeman-Insight-SEP-2008.ppt
10:30 AM Break
11:00 AM Robert DeBellis (Swartz Foundation)
  "Towards a Quantitative Framework for Sudden-insight Problem Solving
and Nonconscious Processing"

Presentation: RDeBellis-Insight-SEP-2008.pdf
Streaming video of the presentation:

Noon Lunch
2:00 PM Scott Makeig (UC San Diego)
  "Measuring Aha!"
  Presentation: SMakeig-Insight-SEP-2008.pdf
3:00 PM Excursion to the beach
6:00 PM Dinner
8:00 PM V. S. Ramachandran (UC San Diego)
  "Synesthesia and Creativity"
Sunday, September 28
Rancho Santa Fe Inn
7:30 AM Breakfast
8:30 AM Sarah Mednick (UC San Diego)
  "The role of memory and sleep in creative problem solving"
9:30 AM Lynn Nadel (U. of Arizona)
  "The role of naps in memory formation and consolidation in toddlers"
  Presentation: LNadel-Insight-SEP-2008.ppt
10:30 AM Break
11:00 AM Jonathan Smallwood (Aberdeen)
  "The imaginative lapse: theoretical and empirical evidence for processing overlap between mind wandering and creative thought"
  Presentation: JSmallwood-Insight-SEP-2008.ppt
Noon Lunch
2:00 PM Kalina Christoff (U of British Columbia)
  "Spontaneous thought and mind wandering in the brain"
3:00 PM Dan Kersten (U. of Minnesota)
  "How does the visual brain solve perceptual puzzles?"
  Presentation: DKersten-Insight-SEP-2008.pdf
4:00 PM Break
4:30 PM Terry Sejnowski (Salk and UC San Diego)
  "Neural Mechanisms for Repetition Priming"
6:00 PM Dinner
8:00 PM John Hopfield
  Insights on "Insights into Insight"
Sunday, April 30, 2017
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