A study from the University of Arizona indicates that creative individuals are more likely to use idle time productively, finding such periods less boring and more mentally engaging. The study also found that during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people had more unstructured time, those who were creative reported feeling less bored.
“I am particularly interested in creativity because we wanted to know what’s going on in the mind of creative individuals, especially in situations where nothing constrains their thoughts,” said lead study author Quentin Raffaeli, a graduate student in the UArizona Department of Psychology.
“This is where our study comes in,” Andrews-Hanna said.
History is filled with anecdotes of famous scientists, artists, and philosophers who enjoyed being alone with their thoughts, and those people often generated some of their best ideas during idle time, Andrews-Hanna said.
“In today’s busy and digitally connected society, time to be alone with one’s thoughts without distraction may be becoming a rare commodity,” she added.
The researchers assessed the participants’ creativity through a “divergent thinking test,” a lab-based verbal test that measures a person’s ability to think outside of the box. Participants who performed well in the divergent thinking test had thoughts that flowed freely and were associated with one another, often indicated by phrases such as “this reminds me of” or “speaking of which.”
“While many participants had a tendency to jump between seemingly unrelated thoughts, creative individuals showed signs of thinking more associatively,” Raffaeli said.
The first experiment also found that creative people were more engaged in their thoughts when they were left alone without distractions, such as cell phones and the internet.
“Creative people rated themselves as being less bored, even over those 10 minutes. They also spoke more words overall, which indicated that their thoughts were more likely to move freely,” Andrews-Hanna said.
To complement their initial findings, the researchers extended their study in the context of a much larger span of time – the COVID-19 pandemic –when many people were alone with their thoughts more often.
For the second experiment, over 2,600 adults answered questions through a smartphone app called Mind Window, developed by Andrews-Hanna and her graduate student Eric Andrews. Participants who self-identified as being creative reported being less bored during the pandemic.
“As we become more overworked, overscheduled, and addicted to our digital devices, I think we need to do a better job in our homes, our workplaces, and our schools to cultivate time to simply relax with our thoughts,” Andrews-Hanna said.
“Understanding why different people think the way they do may lead to promising interventions to improve health and well-being,” Andrews-Hanna said.
Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.
New research helps maximize the health benefits of fruit smoothies. Smoothies offer a delicious and easy method to incorporate essential fruits and vegetables into your…
Copyright © 1998 – 2023 SciTechDaily. All Rights Reserved.
Source: SciTech Daily