From ScienceDaily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090208133221.htm
This study shows a "lucky guess" might be a lot less about luck and a lot less of a guess than we think.
Researchers at Northwestern University, led by psych professor Ken Paller, showed participants a variety of pictures: half they could pay their full attention to, the other half they were supposed to be listening and memorizing a number. And... "Remarkably, people were more accurate in selecting the old image when they had been distracted than when they had paid full attention. They also were more accurate when they claimed to be guessing than when they registered some familiarity for the image," Paller says. Even though splitting attention is supposed to worsen memory, the "visual system" was working as normal.
"The study suggests that we shouldn't rely only on conscious memory, Paller concludes. 'It suggests that we also need to develop our intuitive nature and creativity. Intuition may have an important role in finding answers to all sorts of problems in everyday life -- including big ones such as our ailing economy.'" Paller also talks about the need to further recognize and develop many types of intelligence.
This makes a lot of sense to me... I tend to remember things better when I'm not totally focused on one thing. That's why I like to doodle during lectures. (Also because otherwise I end up either daydreaming or trying not to fall asleep. Oh well.)