One part of the research article fits on this blog. A big part of why I began to research creativity was to learn how new ideas suddenly appear in my (or anyone's) head. I still don't know and it appears no one does. The closest people come to an understanding is to offer tips on how to have these flashes of inspiration, how to prepare our minds for them. But not how they occur.
From the article (my bolding):
Compare consciousness to the Internet, Morsella suggested. The Internet can be used to buy books, reserve a hotel room and complete thousands of other tasks. Taken at face value, it would seem incredibly powerful. But, in actuality, a person in front of a laptop or clicking away on a smartphone is running the show -- the Internet is just being made to perform the same basic process, without any free will of its own.I may be making too much of this sentence fragment. It certainly doesn't answer questions. I can only hope it points where we need to look.
The Passive Frame Theory also defies the intuitive belief that one conscious thought leads to another. "One thought doesn't know about the other, they just often have access to and are acting upon the same, unconscious information," Morsella said. "You have one thought and then another, and you think that one thought leads to the next, but this doesn't seem to be the way the process actually works."
Many researchers have noted the connection between creativity and mental illness (here is one example from this blog) so Morsella's thoughts in that direction may be of interest:
The theory has major implications for the study of mental disorders, Morsella said. "Why do you have an urge or thought that you shouldn't be having? Because, in a sense, the consciousness system doesn't know that you shouldn't be thinking about something," Morsella said. "An urge generator doesn't know that an urge is irrelevant to other thoughts or ongoing action."