Monday, August 18, 2014

Worry is the mother of invention

A recent psychological study from Singapore Management University has found that being worried can help one's creativity:
By systematically manipulating the experience of emotional states, those who actually experienced worrisome emotions produced creative designs that were rated as being more creative by their peers (Study 2) and were more cognitively flexible in generating unusual uses of a common object under high cognitive load (Study 3).

Note that the study uses divergent thinking as the proxy for creativity. Taking this into account, we can say that being worried makes one to consider a greater range of options. This may also explain why in times of uncertainty and trouble people generate many conspiracy theories. It's not clear what emotional state helps separate good ideas from the bad ones.

tags: creativity, psychology, thinking, cognition, research

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