Boost Your Creativity Scientifically

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Creativity is not a trait that people either have or they don’t. It’s surprisingly orderly, it can be learned. Robert Epstein told the Scientific American, “I think that the fact that creativity is orderly is good news, because it means we can all tap into this rich potential we all have.”

One way to boost creativity is by thinking about problems as abstract. Studies cited by the Scientific American found that picturing problems as more distant in time or space can lead to more creative solutions. In one study, researchers asked people to devise transportation solutions for different cities. The participants who were asked about distant cities came up with more creative solutions than the people who were asked about cities that were close to them.

The Scientific American reports: “Although the geographical origin of the various tasks was completely irrelevant – it shouldn’t have mattered where the questions came from – simply telling subjects that they came from somewhere far away led to more creative thoughts.” 

This research suggests that problems may be solved simply by thinking about them as further away. It also suggests, according to the article, “traveling to faraway places (or even just thinking about such places), thinking about the distant future, communicating with people who are dissimilar to us, and considering unlikely alternatives to reality” would likely make people more creative.

(Thanks, Kaeti.)

Source: Scientific American

Image by estoril, licensed under Creative Commons.

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