According to Carson, there are two creative brain states: the deliberate pathway and the spontaneous pathway.
The Deliberate Pathway
The deliberate pathway handles problem solving, planning, reasoning. You use this pathway when you’re actively focused on a problem or task. For those interested in brain anatomy, this pathway primarily uses the prefrontal cortex, the most frontal portion the brain.
The Spontaneous Pathway
The spontaneous pathway, on the other hand, comes into play during idea incubation, immersion, and free association. You’re in this brain state when you defocus your attention: when you’re sleeping, in the shower, in a boring meeting, etc. The spontaneous pathway uses posterior portions of the brain.