The findings fit with dozens of experiments linking positive moods to better creative problem-solving. “The implication is that positive mood engages this broad, diffuse attentional state that is both perceptual and visual,” said Dr. Anderson. “You’re not only thinking more broadly, you’re literally seeing more. The two systems are working in parallel.”
The idea that a distracted brain can be a more insightful one is still a work in progress. So, for that matter, is the notion that puzzle-solving helps the brain in any way to navigate the labyrinth of soured relationships, uncertain career options or hard choices that so often define the world outside.
Puzzle-solving is such an ancient, universal practice, scholars say, precisely because it depends on creative insight, on the primitive spark that ignited the first campfires.And now, modern neuroscientists are beginning to tap its source. In a just completed study, researchers atfound that people were more likely to solve word puzzles with sudden insight when they were amused, having just seen a short comedy routine.