The need for creative problem-solving is as infinite as are the ways in which to engage in it. This article posits that one useful, albeit not flawless, mechanism in which to seek scientific advancements is through the use of analogical thinking. The technique has been invoked in virtually all disciplines, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. The utility of thinking by analogy lies, paradoxically, in its capacity to conceptualize a solution or a viable avenue of further inquiry as much as in its capacity to expose flaws in the analogical concept hypothesized. As such, it is an important means of stimulating creative and strategic thinking, though it should not be the exclusive means upon which to rely absent corroborating support for the conclusion reached.
One neurological phenomenon that compels further inquiry as much as it stimulates awe and surprise is synaptic plasticity in incidences of neurological deficit. Plasticity in such circumstances – as opposed to neuroplastic processes operating in a normal brain – generally connotes mechanisms by which the nervous system appears to adapt to an abnormal or pathologic brain by restoring itself to normal levels of functioning.
Analogical thinking is a possible path for scientific inquiry. The technique is especially useful when it is employed on an inter-disciplinary level, such as at the intersection of biomedical science and law.
- synaptic plasticity,
- analogical thinking
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