A recent article on Scientific American.com talks about a cognitive phenomenon we have all experienced but may not have had a name for.
The idea is that something we were thinking about hours or days ago remains unresolved and so our unconscious keeps picking at it. At some point, a small cue, even one we might not be aware of, triggers it into active memory and we get a “mind-pop.”
They usually appear when we are doing something routine, boring, or otherwise takes very little of our attention. So there is a lot of capacity left over for our brain to get back to picking at the unresolved issue. And then all of a sudden – mind pop.
The research that the article cites suggests that “super-primers” who have mind-pops more often than the rest of us are better problem-solvers and more creative.
I don’t think I experience these enough to be a super-primer, although the article also says that often we are unaware when they happen. But it is good to have a name for it.