Neuroscience speaker Jonah Lehrer’s new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works, is set for release on March 20, but we’re sharing a look at the cool interior graphics right here.
Jonah Lehrer’s latest from his Wired blog “The Frontal Cortex” looks at why creativity seems to benefit from constraints. An example? In a psychological test on university students, half were forced to listen to an audible obstacle (a voice repeating unrelated words) while being presented with a series of challenges while the other half were given the challenges in peaceful silence. When shown the picture above:
The students were more likely to automatically respond that the pictures contained (in clockwise order, from the top left corner) an E, S, H and A…(In contrast, those subjects not first exposed to an obstacle insisted that the picture contained an A, H, S and E. They were entirely tuned to the particular.) The psychologists refer to this shift as an expansion of “perceptual scope,” suggesting that the obstacle had literally increased what the subjects were able to notice. The struggle allowed them to see the whole.
"You’re not just passively tracking the river of time. You’re actively constructing it."
-Neuroscience speaker David Eagleman, in a Wired article on time perception, an area of study in which he has conducted various tests, including tossing subjects 100 feet into free fall to measure whether time slows down in life-threatening situations.