Tag Archives: Creativity

Does body position affect creative thinking?

12 Apr

An unusual paper published in Learning and Individual Differences. Here is the abstract:

“Sometimes people ponder on a problem when lying in bed at night. Previous studies revealed that in the seated body position, an approach motor action of arm flexion can improve creative thinking compared to an avoidance motor action of arm extension. However in the lying body position, the associations of arm flexion/extension to approach/avoidance motor action are converse. Therefore, there is an opposite prediction for the effect of arm posture on creative thinking. The study reported here asked the participants to work on Alternative Uses Task (AUT) problems while performing arm flexion and arm extension, in the body contexts of being seated on a chair or lying in bed. The results demonstrated that arm flexion and extension in the lying body position exerted effects on AUT performance in a converse pattern compared to that in the seated body position. This is the first study that revealed an interaction effect of body position and arm posture on creative thinking, which suggests that future embodiment theories need to consider the integrated effects of arm motor action and body position on cognitive processes.”

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Handedness and creativity

24 Feb

A post on NOVAnext discusses the evidence for a link between handedness and creativity. The post links to a paper, published in Frontiers in Psychology, titled  “Degree of handedness, but not direction, is a systematic predictor of cognitive performance.” From that paper’s abstract:

“A growing body of evidence is reviewed showing that degree of handedness (consistent versus inconsistent) is a more powerful and appropriate way to classify handedness than the traditional one based on direction (right versus left). Experimental studies from the domains of episodic memory retrieval, belief updating/cognitive flexibility, risk perception, and more are described. These results suggest that inconsistent handedness is associated with increased interhemispheric interaction and increased access to processes localized to the right cerebral hemisphere.”


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Memory and imagination

28 Jun

We often see memory and imagination as if they were in a zero sum relationship; more emphasis on learning facts and information is thought to come at the expense of imagination and creativity.

But this completely wrong, memory is, in fact, a prerequisite for creativity. Research shows that people who are creative experts  have large amounts of information stored in their memories. For example, here is a paper titled Practicing Perfection: Piano Performance as Expert Memory (pdf).

A recent issue of Harvard Magazine describes the work of Daniel Schacter, author of Searching For Memory Schacter suggests that imagination and memory rely on the same neural substrates:

“In fact, Schacter continues, memory and imagination involve virtually identical mental processes; both rely on a specific system known as the “default network,” previously thought to be activated only when recalling the past. This discovery led to a rich vein of research, he reports. For instance, the link between memory and imagination could explain why those with memory problems, such as amnesiacs or the elderly, often struggle to envision the future.”

(Thanks to Kathy for the link to Harvard Magazine)

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