Incubation in Problem Solving and Creativity: Unconscious Processes, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Incubation in Problem Solving and Creativity

Unconscious Processes, 1st Edition

By Kenneth Gilhooly


144 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-06-07
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Can problems be solved by setting them aside or by sleeping on them? Incubation, the process of stopping conscious work on problems for a set period of time, is an integral part of the creative problem solving process.

Providing an overview of the main issues, findings and implications of cognitive research on incubation effects in problem solving and creativity, this book argues that incubation is an effective strategy for tackling problems that do not yield to initial solution attempts. Gilhooly reasons that unconscious work is automatic and explores the underlying processes involved in incubation, providing evidence to showcase the major role of unconscious processing in problem solving. Incubation in Problem Solving and Creativity concludes with a discussion of the future implications of unconscious work theory for enhanced problem solving by humans and artificial intelligence systems, positioning incubation as an effective and important stage in creative problem solving, now and in the future.

This book is an invaluable resource for students and researchers of problem solving, creativity, and thinking and reasoning, as well as students from all disciplines taking problem solving modules.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Problems, problem solving and creativity

Chapter 2. Historical background to the "Incubation" concept.

Chapter 3. Early Laboratory based studies of incubation

Chapter 4. Broad Theoretical approaches to incubation: empirical evidence.

Chapter 5. Unconscious Work: Theoretical Discussion.

Chapter 6. Sleep on it?

Chapter 7. Overview and conclusions



About the Author

Kenneth J. Gilhooly is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. He is a former Chair of the Cognitive Section of the BPS and has served on the ESRC Research Grants Board and the ESRC College of Assessors.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Creative Ability