There's a Way to Unlock Human Potential – but It's Not Standardized Testing

Standardized testing is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. It's not totally useless, but it does misunderstand the situation. The Imagination Institute's Scott Barry Kaufman suggests a more three-dimensional search for intelligence.

You can apply this to almost every field and human pursuit and it’s still true: too much of one thing rarely yields a positive outcome. Scott Barry Kaufman, scientific director of The Imagination Institute, thinks the US has fallen into this trap with standardized testing, which lacks insight into the breadth of intelligence.

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Ethan Hawke: Your Subconscious Is More Sophisticated than Your Intellect

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We all know the actor Ethan Hawke, star of films like Gattaca, Dead Poet’s Society, and Training Day, but have you met director, screenwriter, novelist, and philanthropist Ethan Hawke? With an energy that can’t be hushed and a curiosity that won’t quit, Hawke is a creative tornado.

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The Search for Intelligent Life? Start by Re-Designing the IQ Test

The IQ test is the most widely known measure of intelligence, but are the 'twice exceptional' and other gifted members of society slipping between the cracks?

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Photo credit: John Fornander on Unsplash

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.