Want to Get Inspired? Do Something Boring.
Researchers now believe that tucking a problem at the back of your mind is not necessarily the best way to find novel solutions to old problems. Instead, do something boring, they suggest.
What's the Latest Development?
Tucking a creative problem away at the back of your mind is not necessarily the best way to come up with novel solutions, suggests new research out of the University of California, Santa Barbara. There, researchers asked three groups of people to tackle problems requiring creative solutions after performing one of three activities: engaging in a concentration-heavy task, doing repetitive tasks that allowed the mind to wander, and taking a short rest that required no mental exertion. They found that those people who had been occupied with a boring task performed best on a standard creativity test known as the Unusual Uses Task.
What's the Big Idea?
Researchers believe that while the mind is wandering, a relatively rare state facilitated by rote activities, several different brain regions interact, inspiring new solutions to tired problems. This suggests that the most successful group in the experiment 'resulted from an incubation process' which was 'characterized by high levels of mind wandering,' the researchers write. "So if you’re an aspiring songwriter or a poet with a day job waiting tables, you may be in luck. So long as the restaurant isn’t ridiculously busy, you have placed yourself in a situation that facilitates creative thinking."
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There's a growing understanding that drawing is much more than an art form: it's a powerful tool for learning.
- We often think of drawing as something that takes innate talent, but this kind of thinking stems from our misclassification of drawing as, primarily, an art form rather than a tool for learning.
- Researchers, teachers, and artists are starting to see how drawing can positively impact a wide variety of skills and disciplines.
- Drawing is not an innate gift; rather, it can be taught and developed. Doing so helps people to perceive the world more accurately, remember facts better, and understand their world from a new perspective.
It may be simpler than we thought.
- An analysis of a massive amount of data reveals four new personality types.
- The study is the first to take self-reporting out of the equation.
- The four new types are "average," "reserved," "self-centered," and "role model".
Despite its prominence in our collective imagination, variations in metabolism play a minor role in obesity.
- Vox senior health correspondent Julia Belluz spent a day inside of a metabolic chamber at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.
- Her 90 minutes on stationary cycle only burned 405 calories, just 17% of the day's total calories.
- Resting metabolism uses up the bulk of the body's energy.
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