Part of being an adult is dealing with the responsibility and hassle of bills. Insurance, mortgages, and vehicle financing add to the daily stresses you face each day. Yet, without that car you're paying for, you probably couldn't even get to your office, and your daily life would be greatly restricted. The invention of the automobile is itself a combination of numerous innovations by many different inventors and has forever changed the way people travel. In general, inventions, especially those destined to have a lasting impact on people's lifestyles, undergo a complex process of development, during which the original concept evolves and gives rise to many different incarnations. The psychology of invention is an important aspect of human creativity.

The term "psychology of invention" was coined by Jacques Hadamard, who used it in his 1945 book Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field. Cognition, the act or process of knowing, had previously been associated with language but Hadamard insisted that when solving mathematical problems, he did not perceive his thoughts in words, but rather in images. He surveyed 100 leading physicists of his day and they reported similar mental processes. Using this evidence, he outlined a four-step process of problem-solving: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

Hadamard's book renewed interest in cognitive psychology. Cognitive psychology as it pertains to inventing is a relatively young field of study and is a specialty which has only emerged in the last three or four decades. It investigates the internal mental processes of thought, such as visual processing, memory, problem solving, and language. Its framework, called the Circle of Thought, consists of five basic functions of thinking: describe, elaborate, decide, plan, and act.

Noteworthy Inventors

Alexander Graham Bell
Bell initially set out to invent the multiple telegraph, which would have been a groundbreaking innovation by itself. However, the concept evolved and in 1876, he invented the telephone.

Vinton Cerf
Cerf is generally credited as the "Father of the Internet." What started out as a small data packet network quickly evolved into the internet we know today and has spread at an unprecedented rate.

Albert Einstein
Einstein pioneered many innovations in the field of physics, including the theory of relativity, photon theory, and the idea of wave-particle duality. His description of the relationship between mass and energy made the development of the atomic bomb possible.

Henry Ford
Ford is often incorrectly credited with inventing the automobile. It wasn’t a singular invention, but rather a compilation of several inventions by various inventors. Ford was, however, responsible for the development of the assembly line which dramatically increased the efficiency of the automobile's production process. Mass production allowed cars to be priced much lower, making them available to many people who couldn't have afforded them otherwise.

Benjamin Franklin
Franklin was a major Enlightenment figure who is known for his public service, discoveries about electricity, and his numerous inventions, including the lightning rod and bifocals.

Orville and Wilbur Wright
The Wright Brothers are generally credited with the invention of the airplane. While there were others who built and flew experimental aircraft before them, they were the first to invent controls that made fixed-wing flight possible. They were also the first to make a controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, which flew 120 feet.

About the Author

Written by Michael Marcin of Crest Capital. When Mike was little, there was no such thing as the internet (or color TV). Today, he oversees all operations and finance for Crest Capital, a national equipment finance lender. Mike writes on a variety of business topics including equipment, vehicle, and software finance and associated tax implications.