Researchers have found that creative ideas come when we allow our mind to wander without limits.
This research has been done by a team of researchers led by Benjamin Baird and Jonathan Schooler, psychologists at the University of California, Santa Barbara and will soon be published online in the journal of Psychological Science.
[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]Researchers worked on 145 undergraduate students. They were divided into four groups. Initially all of the four groups were given two minutes for a task, i.e. “unusual uses”, to write down as many uses of everyday objects as possible such as clothes hangers, bricks and toothpicks. After two minutes, three groups were given a 12 minute break during which one group rested, second group was put in a task that needs memory and attention and third group was placed in an undemanding activity allowing their mind to wander randomly. After this, they were again given the unusual-uses task along with the two that they had already done.
Researchers found that the students of third group, who were given a 12 minute break to wander their thoughts did an average of 41% better at the repeated tasks second time. While the students of other three groups didn’t improve in the unusual-uses task second time.
“We’ve traditionally found that rapid-eye-movement sleep grants creative insight. That allowing the mind to wander does the same is absolutely fascinating. I think they are on to something really interesting here,” said Sara Mednick, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside.