If you were thinking of emulating William Shakespeare and/or Rem Koolhaas, consider all of the following scientific discoveries regarding creativity, including meditation. USC researchers are working to pin down the exact source of creativity in the 1) ___ and have found that the left hemisphere of your brain, thought to be the logic and math portion, actually plays a critical role in creative thinking. Even though it mainly was handled by the right hemisphere, the creative task actually lit up the 2) ___ hemisphere more than the noncreative task. The results indicated that the left brain potentially is a crucial supporter of creativity in the brain and that it takes two hemispheres of your brain to solve a creative problem
Most people view 3) ___ as an asset — until they come across a creative idea. That’s because creativity not only reveals new perspectives; it promotes a sense of uncertainty. In a 2012 upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science a paper reports on two 2010 experiments at the University of Pennsylvania involving more than 200 people. The studies’ findings include:
- Creative ideas are by definition novel, and novelty can trigger feelings of 4) ___ that make most people uncomfortable.
- People dismiss creative ideas in favor of ideas that are purely practical — tried and true.
- Objective evidence shoring up the validity of a creative proposal does not motivate people to accept it.
- Anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it, which can interfere with their ability to recognize a creative idea.
To uncover bias against creativity, the researchers used a subtle technique to measure unconscious bias — the kind to which people may not want to admit, such as racism. Results revealed that while people explicitly claimed to desire creative ideas, they actually associated creative 5) ___ with negative words such as “vomit,” “poison” and “agony.” The researchers said that this bias caused subjects to reject ideas that were novel and high quality.
“Our findings imply a deep irony,” wrote the authors, who also include Jennifer Mueller of the University of Pennsylvania and Shimul Melwani of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “Revealing the existence and nature of a 6) ___ against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary.” Uncertainty drives the search for and generation of creative ideas, but “uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most,” the researchers wrote. “Revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle 7) ___ advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary. The field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identify how to help innovative institutions to recognize and accept creativity.”
The outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers at Leiden University, published 19 April in Frontiers in Cognition, show that certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking. This study is a clear indication that the advantages of particular types of meditation extend much further than simply relaxation. The findings support the belief that 8) ___ can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we think and how we experience events. The study investigates the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.
Divergent thinking: Divergent thinking allows many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the so-called Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen.
Convergent thinking: Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is a process whereby one possible solution for a particular problem is generated. This method is measured using the Remote Associates Task method, where three unrelated words are presented to the participants, words such as ‘time’, ‘hair’ and ‘stretch’. The participants are then asked to identify the common link: in this case, 9) ___.
Analysis of meditation techniques
Colzato used creativity tasks that measure convergent and divergent thinking to assess which meditation techniques most influence creative activities. The meditation techniques analyzed are Open Monitoring and Focused Attention meditation.
In Open Monitoring meditation the individual is receptive to all the thoughts and sensations experienced without focusing attention on any particular concept or object.
In Focused Attention meditation the individual focuses on a particular thought or object.
Different types of meditation have different effects
These findings demonstrate that not all forms of meditation have the same effect on creativity. After an Open Monitoring meditation the participants performed better in divergent thinking, and generated more 10) ___ ideas than previously, but Focused Attention (FA) meditation produced a different result. FA meditation also had no significant effect on convergent thinking leading to resolving a problem.
ANSWERS: 1) brain; 2) left; 3) creativity; 4) uncertainty; 5) ideas; 6) bias; 7) scientific; 8) meditation; 9) ‘long’; 10) new
Architect Rem Koolhaas: Seattle Central Library Seattle, USA
Architect Rem Koolhaas: The CCTV building in the new financial center of Beijing