Ask the Brains; June/July 2008; Scientific American Mind; by Richard J. Haier and Susana Martinez-Conde; 1 Page(s)
When an idea pops into your head, it is unlikely the result of a single event--like the click of the proverbial lightbulb--in your brain. Studies have shown that no solitary brain area is an exclusive thinking center where ideas emerge. A musical inspiration may start in a different part of the brain than a mathematical concept or a notion about what to eat for dinner. Every idea, like thinking in general, probably arises from a cascade of neural events, which we should be able to discern by scientific means.
In some ways, it is the holy grail of cognitive brain research to detect an isolated thought or idea, so that by knowing only the physical data, such as which neurons fire and when, we could infer exactly what is in a person's mind. Such mind reading is theoretically possible but a daunting challenge.