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23:17, 6 December 2018
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'''Incubation-based studying''' (there might be a better or more standard term) is the idea that one can make more progress on solving a problem/displaying creativity by working on the problem in a concentrated manner, then leaving the problem aside, then coming back to the problem after a break (it is after the break that the problem gets solved).
The important thing here is that this term should be agnostic about the underlying mechanism (so maybe "incubation" isn't such a good term after all, since it seems to single out the unconscious processing mechanism), or at least there should be a term reserved to refer to the overall phenomenon in a mechanism-agnostic manner. It might be due to "subconscious processing" or it might be due to looking fresh at the problem, or it might be due to something else entirely, or some combination of these things.
Of course, depending on the mechanism, specific strategies when studying can change. For example, (1) how hard one tries during the initial concentrated session, (2) how long the break is, (3) how many "parallel threads" to have for different problems, and (4) what one does during the break, are all parameters that can be tweaked when one applies this technique, and their optimal values seem to depend on the underlying mechanism. For example, if "subconscious processing" is the underlying mechanism, then presumably one cannot "subconsciously work on" hundreds of problems simultaneously. On the other hand, if the underlying mechanism is that this method gives a "fresh look" at problems, then one might want to attempt as many problems as possible, to "flush the buffer".
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