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Courting the Muse: Pictionary Research Reveals Creativity Tip

Having trouble getting into the creative mood? Research how says that you may be thinking a little too hard about it. Dr. Manish Saggar suggests maybe the key is not to concentrate too hard on it, stating “The more you think about it, the more you mess it up.” Saggar and the other researchers on the study had subjects play Pictionary, a popular party game that involves drawing and guessing, while their brains were being scanned to see which areas were being used. Using this research, they were able to determine that when people concentrated on a task, they had more difficulty. When people relaxed, they had less trouble, and the cerebellum lit up. Another scientist on the project, Professor Reiss, explains: “It’s likely that the cerebellum is the coordination center for the rest of brain, allowing other regions to be more efficient. As our study also shows, sometimes a deliberate attempt to be creative may not be the best way to optimize your creativity. While greater effort to produce creative outcomes involves more activity of executive-control regions, you actually may have to reduce activity in those regions in order to achieve creative outcomes.”


Creativity can help with completing tasks, forming relationships, solving problems, and (of course) winning at Pictionary; or as Professor Allan Reiss sums up: “Creativity is an incredibly valued human attribute in every single human endeavor, be it work or play.” If you need to court the muse, the answer may be to take a break, relax, and stop concentrating on the problem.


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