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Hermann Ershov
Hermann Ershov


The idea that a period of incubation might facilitate creativity has not only been suggested by creative minds, but has also been stressed in creativity models. Wallas (1926) proposed that the creative process entails four stages: Preparation (acquisition of knowledge to some task), Incubation (process that occurs when conscious attention is diverted away from the task), Illumination (creative idea flashes into sight), and Verification (creative idea is subjected to evaluation). Certainly a creative idea may be found before a decrease in conscious effort, that is, before the Incubation stage. Sometimes, however, a period of incubation seems to precede creative breakthroughs as illustrated above for several scientific discoveries and artistic compositions.


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Dijksterhuis and Meurs (2006) investigated the relation between different thought processes and the generation of creative ideas. In several experiments participants were asked to generate a list of items (new names for products, names of places beginning with a certain letter, things one can do with a brick), and three conditions were compared. In the immediate condition (i.e., the baseline condition) participants started right after receiving the instruction. In the conscious thought condition, participants were given three minutes to consciously think about the items before they were given time to list them. In the unconscious thought condition, people were first given the instruction, and were then distracted for three minutes before they were given the opportunity to list the items. Conscious thought led to more accessible items and to items in line with a cue, whereas unconscious thought led to more inaccessible items and to items diverging from the cue. Moreover, unconscious thought led to more creative and unusual items than conscious thought. In all experiments, unconscious thinkers also differed significantly from participants who were not given time to think at all. These findings suggest that whereas conscious thought may be focused and convergent, unconscious thought may be more associative and divergent. Ritter et al. (2012b) investigated the role of unconscious thought for both idea generation and idea selection. Participants generated creative ideas immediately, after conscious thought, or after a period of unconscious thought. After having listed their ideas, participants selected their most creative idea. Performance in idea generation was similar between conscious and unconscious thought; however, individuals who had unconsciously thought about ideas were better in selecting their most creative idea. These findings are in support of the idea that unconscious processes actively contribute to creativity, as it is unlikely that these findings are the consequence of set-shifting or relaxation. During task instruction no examples were provided and no hints or cues were given, meaning that no fixating elements or specific mental sets were induced that could have become less accessible, changed, or forgotten altogether during a period of distraction. Recovering from fatigue is also unlikely to account for the current findings, as incubation effects also occurred in the study when a cognitively demanding task (n-back task) was used as distracter task (Dijksterhuis and Meurs, 2006).

Although unconscious processes can be a powerful source to facilitate creativity, only engage in daydreaming or sleeping to produce groundbreaking discoveries or great artistic creations will not do the trick. A plethora of raw materials has to be available to be connected and one has to be able to focus on some options out of an array of options. In this sense, conscious processing is needed to establish a knowledge base, to know what problems to tackle, and to verify and implement new ideas. Future research may investigate what combination of conscious and unconscious processes is most fruitful for creativity. One could think about the order of the two processes (e.g., a period of task-related conscious thought that is followed by a period during which one refrains from task-related conscious thought, or repeatedly switch between the two modes of thought), and the optimal duration of each of the two processes. People are likely to benefit more from an incubation period when they get stuck and, therefore, one can assume that a relatively long period of conscious thought should be preferred above a short period of conscious thought. Also for unconscious processes the duration of the incubation period seems to be of importance. In a recent study from Yang et al. (2012), 3 min (as compared to 1 min and 5 min) seemed to be the optimal duration of unconscious thought. However, it is likely that 3 min of incubation is not the most appropriate duration for all creativity tasks. It can be assumed that the optimal duration is contingent on the task (Weisberg, 1999). Besides exploring the optimal duration of unconscious processes as a function of task characteristics and the optimal combination of conscious and unconscious processes, future research could also focus on the similarities and disparities between the different unconscious processes (i.e., incubation, unconscious thought, mind-wandering and sleep) and could investigate which process is most beneficial for creativity and for the distinct mental processes underlying creative thought (Baer, 1998). Finally, future research may study potential moderators, for example, whether experts and people with ample prior knowledge exhibit a different pattern of creative performance as a result of unconscious and conscious processes.

Background: A novel human coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified in China in December 2019. There is limited support for many of its key epidemiologic features, including the incubation period for clinical disease (coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19]), which has important implications for surveillance and control activities.

Results: There were 181 confirmed cases with identifiable exposure and symptom onset windows to estimate the incubation period of COVID-19. The median incubation period was estimated to be 5.1 days (95% CI, 4.5 to 5.8 days), and 97.5% of those who develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days (CI, 8.2 to 15.6 days) of infection. These estimates imply that, under conservative assumptions, 101 out of every 10 000 cases (99th percentile, 482) will develop symptoms after 14 days of active monitoring or quarantine.

Conclusion: This work provides additional evidence for a median incubation period for COVID-19 of approximately 5 days, similar to SARS. Our results support current proposals for the length of quarantine or active monitoring of persons potentially exposed to SARS-CoV-2, although longer monitoring periods might be justified in extreme cases.

After an incubation period of 2-21 days, symptom onset is sudden and marked by fever, chills, headache, and myalgia. Around the fifth day after the onset of symptoms, a maculopapular rash, most prominent on the trunk (chest, back, stomach), may occur. Nausea, vomiting, chest pain, a sore throat, abdominal pain, and diarrhea may appear. Symptoms become increasingly severe and can include jaundice, inflammation of the pancreas, severe weight loss, delirium, shock, liver failure, massive hemorrhaging, and multi-organ dysfunction.

Results: The incubation period distribution may be modelled with a lognormal distribution with pooled mu and sigma parameters (95% CIs) of 1.63 (95% CI 1.51 to 1.75) and 0.50 (95% CI 0.46 to 0.55), respectively. The corresponding mean (95% CIs) was 5.8 (95% CI 5.0 to 6.7) days. It should be noted that uncertainty increases towards the tail of the distribution: the pooled parameter estimates (95% CIs) resulted in a median incubation period of 5.1 (95% CI 4.5 to 5.8) days, whereas the 95th percentile was 11.7 (95% CI 9.7 to 14.2) days.

Incubation period (also known as the latent period or latency period) is the time elapsed between exposure to a pathogenic organism, a chemical, or radiation, and when symptoms and signs are first apparent.[1] In a typical infectious disease, the incubation period signifies the period taken by the multiplying organism to reach a threshold necessary to produce symptoms in the host.

While latent or latency period may be synonymous, a distinction is sometimes made whereby the latent period is defined as the time from infection to infectiousness. Which period is shorter depends on the disease. A person may carry disease, such as Streptococcus in the throat, without exhibiting any symptoms. Depending on the disease, the person may or may not be contagious during the incubation period.

During latency, an infection is subclinical. With respect to viral infections, in incubation the virus is replicating.[2] This is in contrast to viral latency, a form of dormancy in which the virus does not replicate. An example of latency is HIV infection. HIV may at first have no symptoms and show no signs of AIDS, despite HIV replicating in the lymphatic system and rapidly accumulating a large viral load. People with HIV in this stage may be infectious.

The terms "intrinsic incubation period" and "extrinsic incubation period" are used in vector-borne diseases. The intrinsic incubation period is the time taken by an organism to complete its development in the definitive host. The extrinsic incubation period is the time taken by an organism to develop in the intermediate host.[citation needed]

For example, once ingested by a mosquito, malaria parasites must undergo development within the mosquito before they are infectious to humans. The time required for development in the mosquito ranges from 10 to 28 days, depending on the parasite species and the temperature. This is the extrinsic incubation period of that parasite. If a female mosquito does not survive longer than the extrinsic incubation period, then she will not be able to transmit any malaria parasites.[citation needed] 041b061a72


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