Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teaching Creativity to Children from a Galaxy Away

18.05.2012
Encouraging "expansive thinking" opens children to creative possibilities, says a TAU researcher

Playing make-believe is more than a childhood pasttime. According to psychologists, it's also crucial to building creativity, giving a child the ability to consider alternative realities and perspectives.

And this type of thinking is essential to future development, aiding interpersonal and problem-solving skills and the ability to invent new theories and concepts. That has been shown to be a component of future professional success in fields from the arts to the sciences and business.

But can creativity be taught? Prof. Nira Liberman ofTel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences, with her students Maayan Blumenfeld, Boaz Hameiri and Orli Polack, has demonstrated that children can be "primed" for creativity by how they are persuaded to think about and see the world around them. According to their study, one catalyst of creativity is "expansive" thought — encouraging children to think about distant objects and perspectives like the galaxies in the skies above, as opposed to local objects and perspectives in their immediate surroundings.

Thinking "outwards" rather than "inwards" allows children to consider different points of view and think beyond their "here and now" reality, says Prof. Liberman, whose research has been published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. She says that relatively simple exercises can get children in the right frame of mind.

Thinking from the inside out

For their study, the researchers worked with 55 children ages six to nine. Half were shown a series of photographs that started with nearby objects and gradually progressed to more distant ones — from a close-up of the pencil sitting on their desk progressing to a picture of the Milky Way galaxy. The other half was shown exactly the same photographs but in reverse order, to induce a "contractive" frame of mind.

After viewing the series of photographs, the children completed creativity tests, including the Tel Aviv Creativity Test (TACT), in which the participant is given an object and asked to name the different uses they can think of for it. Points are given for the number of uses mentioned and the creativity of the use. The children in the expansive mind-set group scored significantly better on all of the creativity measures, coming up with a greater number of uses and more creative uses for the objects.

Spatial distance, as opposed to spatial proximity, was clearly shown to enhance creative performance, says Prof. Liberman. Increased creativity was a direct result of priming the children in the first group to think expansively rather than contractively.

This study was the first to focus on child rather than adult creativity in this type of research. In the past, Prof. Liberman and her fellow researchers investigated how creativity in adults may be enhanced by encouraging them to consider the distant future and unlikely events. Overall, "psychological distance can help to foster creativity because it encourages us to think abstractly," says Prof. Liberman of her findings.

Flexing creative muscles

This study adds to recent research by social psychologists that shows creativity is a trainable skill, not only an innate talent. Though some people are undeniably more creative than others,there are benefits from "priming" your mind to think more creatively by investigating new perspectives and thinking abstractly.

"Creativity is basically about the flexibility of thought of your mental system," explains Prof. Liberman. Like the physical stretching that makes your body more flexible, mental exercises such as problem solving can train the mind to improve its creative thinking.

"The flexibility of your mental operations is important because it underlies many human qualities, such as empathy, self regulation, problem-solving, and the ability to make new discoveries," she adds.

George Hunka | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aftau.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>