Artists and Inspiration

Inevitably such a notion does not sit well with modern psychology and this has resulted in a myriad of different theories, which seek to rationalise inspiration in terms of a cognitive process. What is generally agreed upon is that creative ideas don't just come from nowhere. The consensus is that innovative ideas result from internal mental processes that are a response to external experience and prior knowledge. (Sternberg, 1998) Many psychologists (Hadamard, Wallas, Olton, Simon) have categorised the creative process into phases such as preparation, incubation, illumination and verification. Incubation refers to time spent away from the problem. Corresponding theories (Feldman, Hadamard) suggest that the incubation period causes an individual to enter 'mental overdrive' during which the subconscious takes over and continues to search for solutions using existing ideas and knowledge. (Perkins 2001) According to psychologists this explains why, when an individual finally arrives at a solution, it appears as if it has come from out of the blue.

"The experience of sudden insight is s



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