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Living Abroad Makes You More Creative
A new psychological study establishes a causal link between living abroad and generating innovative solutions to vexing problems. Employers, take note. Time abroad counts, a lot.
What's the Latest Development?
If you want to think outside the box, live outside the country, at least for a while. Increasingly, that is the conclusion of psychological research on how living abroad affects a person's ability to reach innovative solutions to vexing problems. "The link between studying abroad and enhanced creativity was first made in a 2009 paper by William Maddux and Adam Galinsky, who found students who spent time overseas were more likely to come up with innovative insights." A limitation of the study, however, was that it failed to establish a causal relationship, leaving open the possibility that people inclined to live abroad were more creative in the first place.
What's the Big Idea?
To investigate a causal relationship between living abroad and being creative, researchers at the University of Florida, Gainesville, designed a new experiment. In it, they used two standard creativity tests and selected three test groups: people who had lived abroad, people currently planning to live abroad and people who had no inclination to leave the US. Those individuals who had lived overseas arrived at significantly more creative ideas, according to the tests, than the other two groups. One of the researchers behind the new test argues this demonstrates a causal connection, saying, "Our findings indicate that studying abroad supports cognitive processes involved in developing innovative solutions."
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A recent study on monkeys found that stimulating a certain part of the forebrain wakes monkeys from anesthesia.
- Scientists electrically stimulated the brains of macaque monkeys in an effort to determine which areas are responsible for driving consciousness.
- The monkeys were anesthetized, and the goal was to see whether activating certain parts of the brain would wake up the animals.
- The forebrain's central lateral thalamus seems to be one of the "minimum mechanisms" necessary for consciousness.
Pixabay<p>When the team electrically stimulated a part of the brain called the central lateral thalamus, located in the forebrain, the monkeys woke up: they opened their eyes, blinked, reached out, made facial expressions and showed altered vital signs. </p><p>"We found that when we stimulated this tiny little brain area, we could wake the animals up and reinstate all the neural activity that you'd normally see in the cortex during wakefulness," Saalmann told Cell Press. "They acted just as they would if they were awake. When we switched off the stimulation, the animals went straight back to being unconscious."</p><p>This area of the brain may function as an "engine for consciousness," Redinbaugh told Inverse. Although past studies have shown that electrical stimulation can arouse the brains of humans and animals, the new findings are unique because they reveal which specific neural interactions appear to be minimally necessary for consciousness.</p><p>"Science doesn't often leave opportunity for exhilaration, but that's what that moment was like for those of us who were in the room," Redinbaugh told <a href="https://www.inverse.com/science/first-squid-mri-study-brain-complexity-similar-dogs" target="_blank"><em>Inverse</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Future applications<p>The team said the findings could have many applications down the road, but more research is needed.</p><p>"The overriding motivation of this research is to help people with disorders of consciousness to live better lives," Redinbaugh told Cell Press. "We have to start by understanding the minimum mechanism that is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, so that the correct part of the brain can be targeted clinically."</p><p>"It's possible we may be able to use these kinds of deep-brain stimulating electrodes to bring people out of comas. Our findings may also be useful for developing new ways to monitor patients under clinical anesthesia, to make sure they are safely unconscious."</p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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