What does it take to think different? Changes in the activity of the anterior temporal lobes, if a new study has it right. Thinking the same is actually very useful, since we can use existing mental frameworks to rapidly solve typical problems. But, on occasion, we’re faced with an atypical problem, one where our past problem solving techniques don’t apply, and we need to think of a new way of doing things. At those moments, applying a small electric current to the temporal lobes might just do the trick.
Although having a toolbox of problem-solving techniques can be very valuable, the authors describe how it can make us a prisoner of our past experience. When faced with a simple task, we sometimes keep trying to use one of our existing tools, even if it’s the wrong one for the job.