Spreading activation is a chain reaction occurring in a neural network, semantic network, directed graph, or in the brain. In spreading activation, connected concepts activate one another. Spreading activation may explain the process of creative thinking. It is also used in a form of learning called neural creativity.
- In creative thinking: concepts spread out their activation to other concepts in a fan effect (see: How to solve any problem?).
- In neural creativity (in SuperMemo): concepts and elements can be presented sequentially in the learning process (or in problem solving). Neural creativity is like a simulation of a creative brain in slow motion.
In neural creativity, the graph for spreading activation is formed by semantic connections of the knowledge tree, concept links, and inter-element links. Spreading activation is used to sequence elements for neural review. This is a new form of semantic review in SuperMemo, where new elements are fed neurally for review. This approach is useful in enhancing creativity and in problem solving.