Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Overworking Your Brain Can Spark Ideas

If you want to get creative, lowering your inhibitions can help. This article explains how overworking your brain does exactly that.  Excerpts:

Overworking Your Brain Can Spark Ideas

Mental exhaustion can unleash creativity, research shows

By Madhuvanthi Kannan | June 9, 2015 | Scientific American

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June 13, 2015 Posted by | behaviour, brain | , , | Leave a comment

To get creative, make things difficult

University of Amsterdam scientists investigated how obstacles affect thought process.  Conclusion: making things difficult had people see a “bigger picture”.   From INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine, November/December 2012:


The brain likes a challenge—and putting a few obstacles in its way may well boost its creativity. Ian Leslie takes a hard line…

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June 2, 2013 Posted by | brain | , , | Leave a comment

For more productive meetings

Keeping a brainstorming session somewhat uncomfortable (by introducing an oddball or a stranger, for example) seems to enhance the creative process.  From Time magazine, Mar. 31, 2009:

Why the Office Oddball Is Good for Business

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November 9, 2010 Posted by | behaviour, business | , , | Leave a comment

Pros of being sad

Happy moods promote creativity and flexibility — but also gullability.  Sad moods make you more critical, improve your ability to judge and remember.

From Smart Planet, Nov 5, 2009:

A bad mood can help you think more clearly

By Andrew Nusca

Apparently, misery loves productivity.

Bad moods can be good for you, according to a new study.

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November 18, 2009 Posted by | behaviour | , , , , | Leave a comment

Love or sex for creative thinking?

Check out “Solve that baffling problem” for an exploration of how psychological distancing helps creative thinking.  Then read the article below how being in love does the same — but thinking of sex does not!  From Scientific American, September 29, 2009:

Does Falling in Love Make Us More Creative?

A new study demonstrates that thinking about love–but not about sex–causes us to think more “globally,” making it easier to come up with new ideas

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October 2, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, brain, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solve that baffling problem

Got a problem that’s baffling you?  You could try inverse thinking — focus on what would not solve the problem.  But you’ll have a better chance of solving it if you imagine the problem to be far away, time- or distance-wise.  The article below from Scientific American explains why.  But if you really aspire to be more creative, you should live abroad for a while — as explained in the article from the Economist, shown after this one.

From Scientific American, July 21, 2009:

An Easy Way to Increase Creativity

Why thinking about distant things can make us more creative

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August 29, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, brain, psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment