This is an interesting article I read in my RSS reader today. One of the notable concepts it discusses is the effect of "memory chains" activated at certain moments can inform future decisions.
They use the analogy of a musical orchestra. When you learn (and recall) individual concepts (in our case, flashcards), it is similar to playing a single musical instrument. At some point when one contemplates a decision, sometimes many disparately learned individual things chain together and shoot off a neurological symphony that can lead to the solution. Although one cannot say for certain how our brain works (It IS the most mysterious object in the universe), this certainly seems likely.
It is said that "chance favors the connected mind." Perhaps this is empirical evidence that supports such a statement.
Scientific American article