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Insight can be used with several related meanings:

An insight that manifests itself suddenly, such as understanding how to solve a difficult problem, is sometimes called by the German word Aha-Erlebnis. The term was coined by the German psychologist and theoretical linguist Karl Bühler. It is also known as an epiphany.


[edit] In psychology and psychiatry

The Candle Problem: a classic experiment of insight by Karl Duncker (1945).

In psychology and psychiatry, insight can mean the ability to recognize one's own mental illness.[1] This form of insight has multiple dimensions, such as recognizing the need for treatment, and recognizing consequences of one's behavior as stemming from an illness.[2] A person with very poor recognition or acknowledgment is referred to as having "poor insight" or "lack of insight." The most extreme form is Anosognosia, which is the total absence of insight into one's own mental illness. Many mental illnesses are associated with varying levels of insight. For example, people with obsessive compulsive disorder and various phobias tend to have relatively good insight that they have a problem and that their thoughts and/or actions are unreasonable, yet are compelled to carry out the thoughts and actions regardless. Whereas people with Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia and various psychotic conditions tend to have very poor awareness that anything is wrong with them.

"Insight" can also refer to other matters in psychology. Problem solving behavior requiring insight is the subject of insight phenomenology.

An insight is the derivation of a rule which links cause with effect. The mind is a model of the universe built up from insights.

Thoughts of the mind fall into two categories:

1) Analysis of past experience with the purpose of gaining insight for use within this model at a later date
2) Simulations of future scenarios using existing insights in the mind model in order to predict outcomes

A mature mind has assimilated many insights and understands cause and effect. When insight is not subordinate to a validation discipline like the 'scientific method', fallacious thinking can result in a confused mind.

Intuition, which is often described in the popular literature as an alternative thought process, is merely another manifestation of insight.[3] In this process, multiple bits of seemingly unrelated data are linked together and a hypothesis or plan of action is generated. Usually this process is generated in a novel situation. Such a circumstance links data which had previously seemed unrelated.[4] The categories and analytical process, however, are not distinct from any other form of insight. The only difference is the degree of novelty of the stimulus. To form an insight the frontal lobe searches through the temporal lobes in search of the data bits. It has been hypothesized that the apparently intuitive mode uses a right temporal search. The majority of insights are derived from the left temporal lobe.

[edit] In religion

In religion insight is seen as the divine impartation of knowledge, or wisdom, for various beneficial results:

  • To help a sufferer understand a troubling health condition, be it emotional, mental, spiritual or physical (possibly psychosomatic)
  • To help a sufferer understand a troubling life situation or circumstance (e.g. relationship/employment problems)
  • To give greater understanding about local, national or international social issues, often with a view to assisting intercessory prayer
  • To help an enquirer come to faith or belief in the religion or belief system

Sometimes insight is a precursor to miraculous interventions. In those cases the insight can be said to result in deeper understanding, which in turn results in increased faith.

The Pali word for "insight" is "vipassana", which has been adopted as the name of a kind of Buddhist meditation.

[edit] In business

Nigel Bradley points out a recent development in the world of business. There has been the emergence of new departments in corporations which carry the word 'Insight' in their titles. We have 'Customer Insight Departments', Insight Management Unit, Consumer Insight and so on. This extends to the job titles of executives working in those areas. One reason for this development was a realisation that the emphasis of results from individual research projects needed to be shifted to a wider understanding of the dynamics operating in the full market place. Another reason was the impact of information technology. Progress in technology gave way to the availability of masses of information found in databases. The advantages of Insight Management are numerous. By making use of all existing information, there is less need to consult customers, thereby minimising unnecessary contact and costs.[5]

[edit] In marketing

Conroy (2008) points out that an insight is a statement based on a deep understanding of your target consumers' attitudes and beliefs, which connect at an emotional level with your consumer, provoking a clear response (This brand understands me! That is exactly how I feel! ' even if they've never thought about it quite like that) which, when leveraged, has the power to change consumer behavior. Insights must affect a change in consumer behavior that benefits your brand, leading to the achievement of the marketing objective.[citation needed]

Insights can be based on:

  1. Real or perceived weakness to be exploited in competitive product performance or value
  2. Attitudinal or perceived barrier in the minds of consumers, regarding your brand
  3. Untapped or compelling belief or practice

Insights are most effective when they are/do one of the following:

  1. Unexpected
  2. Create a disequilibria
  3. Change momentum
  4. Exploited via a benefit or point of difference that your brand can deliver

[edit] References

  1. ^ Markov�¡ I.S. (2005) Insight in Psychiatry. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Ghaemi, S. Nassir (2002). Polypharmacy in Psychiatry. Hoboken: Informa Healthcare. ISBN 0-8247-0776-1. 
  3. ^ AJ Giannini, J Daood, MC Giannini, RS Boniface, PG Rhodes. Intellect versus intuition'a dichotomy in the reception of nonverbal communication.Journal of General Psychology. 99:19'25,1978.
  4. ^ AJ Giannini, ME Barringer, MC Giannini, RH Loiselle. Lack of relationship between handedness and intuitive and intellectual (rationalistic) modes of information processing. Journal of General Psychology.111:31'37,1984.
  5. ^ Bradley, Nigel, (2007), Marketing Research: Tools and Techniques, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[edit] Further reading

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