How to improve creativity?

How to improve creativity? (Image source: fbi.gov)
How to improve creativity? (Image source: fbi.gov)

Main Point:

Thinking like a stereotypical creative or imaginative person can help in improving creative thinking.

Published in:

PLoS ONE

Study Further:

Stereotypes are those, who embody a set type or image, i.e. they are well defined and rigid. They are often simple in nature having known set of rules, therefore it is possible for a person to think like them. The “Stereotype effect” is one of the highly studied psychological phenomena.

In a recent study from University of Maryland, U.S., researchers performed two experiments. In the first experiment, researchers divided 96 students from different fields of studies into 3 groups. One group of students was asked to think like “an eccentric poet.” Second group of students was asked to think like “a rigid librarian”. The third group received no stereotype-related instruction. Researchers checked the creativity of those three groups by telling them the name of 10 commonly used objects and asking them to write as many original uses of them as possible. They found that the group of students, who were asked to think like “an eccentric poet” came with more (number of) original ideas as compared to the other groups. On the other hand, group of students, who thank like “a rigid librarian” scored lowest as compared to other two groups.

In the second experiment, researchers worked with 105 students and made three similar groups, but each student was asked to think like “an eccentric poet” for five objects and like “a rigid librarian” for other five objects. This time participants came with more number of original ideas, when they thought like “an eccentric poet”.

“As the results of these studies show, provision of different stereotypes is an effective approach to enhancing divergent thinking: a key indicator of creative thought,” researchers wrote in the paper.

Findings of the study can help in improving our educational system in which creativity of kids is often blocked by disturbing their way of thinking. “In any system that places an emphasis on test scores,” researchers wrote, “test-takers may feel compelled to adopt a rigid perspective when performing a creative task.”

We have to develop a system in which kids would be allowed to think like a great thinker rather than just cramming or memorizing information.

Source:

Dumas, D., & Dunbar, K. (2016). The Creative Stereotype Effect PLOS ONE, 11 (2) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142567

Usman Zafar Paracha

Usman Zafar Paracha is Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutics, in Hajvery University, Lahore, Pakistan.

  • sarah

    I found this post really interesting. I have realized this semester how often people stereotype others, sometimes without even realizing it. It happens everyday just by looking at a person we stereotype them. Our brains just like to group things together in daily life, and that leads to stereotyping. I find the whole concept of stereotyping very interesting, and the fact that it can lead to creativity was a really cool thing to learn. Just by giving a group of people a title it can make them more or less creative depending on the title is really cool. It’s just how you say things that can make your brain react one way or the other towards a certain situation.