Scientists identify why some of our best ideas happen in the shower
There's really only one place left on this blue marble where most humans can disconnect on a day-to-day basis and feel the creative spark: the shower. You may laugh, but it's true. For some reason this place tends to be an incubator of sparks, leading to that ah-ha moment.
Scott Barry Kaufman, the scientific director of the Imagination Institute, explained in an online summit on work performance just why the shower is such a special zone for creativity. "The relaxing, solitary, and non-judgmental shower environment may afford creative thinking by allowing the mind to wander freely," he said, "causing people to be more open to their inner stream of consciousness and daydreams."
It's a place where people can be unburdened (if only for a few minutes) by outside distraction. I mean, most of us don't bring our phones with us, right? Nor are we trying to accomplish anything, so we allow our brains to shut down, which allows another part of our brain to light up.
Our minds never stop, even when it may not feel like we're thinking at all, and showering may be the one place where people engage their creative side without even knowing it.
Manoush Zomorodi, the host of WNYC's New Tech City podcast, did a segment called "Bored and Brilliant," which asked people to intentionally be bored. It challenged people to intentionally engage with their creative side by succumbing to boredom. This is just one of many exercises, which can help strengthen the connection to creativity, and why they're so effective can be explained by science.
"We think what we see is a relaxation of 'executive functions' to allow more natural de-focused attention and uncensored processes to occur that might be the hallmark of creativity," says Allen Braun, a researcher who has studied the origins of creativity in the brain.
So, if you want to have the "a-ha!" moment, it's important to let those higher brain functions rest, which we tend to do in the shower.
To create wiser adults, add empathy to the school curriculum.
- Stories are at the heart of learning, writes Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director for the Global Oneness Project. They have always challenged us to think beyond ourselves, expanding our experience and revealing deep truths.
- Vaughan-Lee explains 6 ways that storytelling can foster empathy and deliver powerful learning experiences.
- Global Oneness Project is a free library of stories—containing short documentaries, photo essays, and essays—that each contain a companion lesson plan and learning activities for students so they can expand their experience of the world.
Philosophers like to present their works as if everything before it was wrong. Sometimes, they even say they have ended the need for more philosophy. So, what happens when somebody realizes they were mistaken?
Sometimes philosophers are wrong and admitting that you could be wrong is a big part of being a real philosopher. While most philosophers make minor adjustments to their arguments to correct for mistakes, others make large shifts in their thinking. Here, we have four philosophers who went back on what they said earlier in often radical ways.
Just before I turned 60, I discovered that sharing my story by drawing could be an effective way to both alleviate my symptoms and combat that stigma.
I've lived much of my life with anxiety and depression, including the negative feelings – shame and self-doubt – that seduced me into believing the stigma around mental illness: that people knew I wasn't good enough; that they would avoid me because I was different or unstable; and that I had to find a way to make them like me.
A joint study by two England universities explores the link between sex and cognitive function with some surprising differences in male and female outcomes in old age.
- A joint study by the universities of Coventry and Oxford in England has linked sexual activity with higher cognitive abilities in older age.
- The results of this study suggest there are significant associations between sexual activity and number sequencing/word recall in men. In women, however, there was a significant association between sexual activity in word recall alone - number sequencing was not impacted.
- The differences in testosterone (the male sex hormone) and oxytocin (a predominantly female hormone) may factor into why the male cognitive level changes much more during sexual activity in older age.
Mathematicians studied 100 billion tweets to help computer algorithms better understand our colloquial digital communication.