The “Incubation Period” Mechanisms

  • Eliciting new knowledge: when you stop problem-solving, your brain keeps working on it in the background and may come across memories you may have ignored when you were actively trying to think about the problem.
  • Selective forgetting: an incubation period weakens the unhelpful solutions that are distracting you. 
  • Problem restructuring: stepping away from the problem lets your brain reorganize the problem.

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The Surprising Secret to Breaking Through a Mental Block, According to Science

inc.com

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The Incubation Period

That’s a scientifically recognized phenomenon where an idea is unconsciously worked out by the brain. It often happens when we are trying to solve a hard problem and take a break to do an unrelated task.

Concentrating harder won't force the 'eureka moment' when you're experiencing a mental block.

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Using The Incubation Period

When you're struggling with a problem or decision take a break from thinking hard.

Some studies say an incubation period as short as 10 minutes might be enough to gain a new perspective. But that’s not unanimous, so you might want to experiment to discover what works for you. 

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