David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Analysis + Insight (in that order) = Creativity

Insight--that eureka moment when a new idea appears like a bolt from the blue--is the most essential characteristic of creativity. Without insight, there simply can be no creativity.

What's the Latest?

Mark Beeman, a cognitive neuroscientist at Northwestern University, has found that certain simple behaviors result in more creative outcomes. In his analysis of laboratory experiments, Beeman identified insight--that eureka moment when a new idea appears like a bolt from the blue--as the most essential characteristic of creativity. Without insight, there simply can be no creativity. But insight is the fruit of another labor, says Beeman. Rigorous analysis is the necessary first step toward achieving insight because it collects the data on which the imagination can work on. 

What's the Big Idea?

During laboratory tests, Beeman was able to connect analysis and creativity to specific physical behavior. When test subjects looked at a series of unrelated words--say "pine", "crab", and "sauce"--the analysis phase was defined by fewer head movements and less blinking. When subjects blinked more frequently and divided their attention between the words and other object, insight was more likely to occur provided they had already carefully analyzed the words. Beeman also identifies the importance of humility to creativity: "You won't win a Nobel Prize for rearranging your closet more effectively, but it could be important for daily life."

Read more at the New Yorker

LIVE ON MONDAY | "Lights, camera, activism!" with Judith Light

Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

Credit: Neom
Technology & Innovation
  • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
  • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
  • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
Keep reading Show less

Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

A truck pulls out of a large Walmart regional distribution center on June 6, 2019 in Washington, Utah.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
Keep reading Show less

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

A girl and her mother take an afternoon nap in bed.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

    Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

    Scroll down to load more…