03 December 2013

Enhancing Creativity via Mediation to succeed in the digital world

A study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers at Leiden University shows us the advantages of particular types of meditation extend much further than simply relaxation. The findings show us that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we think and how we experience events. Surely, this is worth exploring further.

Ingredients of creativity
We can see the influences o different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity: divergent and convergent styles of thinking.
  • Divergent thinking : This  thinking allows many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the a method known as Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen.
  • Convergent thinking : This thinking, is a process whereby one possible solution for a particular probem is generated. This is measured using the Remote Associates Task method. The words could be three unrelated words are presented to the participants An example is the  'time', 'hair' and 'stretch' where the particpants  identify the common link: in this case, 'long'.
Analysis of the techniques
Creativity tasks that measure these types thinking to assess which meditation techiques influence mediation techniques most was done in the study. The techniques analysed were open monitoring and focused attention.
  • In Open Monitoring,the individual is receptive  to all the thoughts and sensations experienced without focusing attention on any particular concept or object.
  • In Focused Attention, the individual focuses on a particular thought or object.
Different types of meditation have different effects
These findings show  that not all forms of meditation have the same effect on creativity. After an Open Monitoring meditation the participants performed better in divergent thinking, and generated different more new ideas than previously, but Focused Attention (FA) had no significant effect on convergent thinking leading to resolving a problem.

The above story is based on materials provided by Universiteit Leiden.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:
  1. Lorenza S. Colzato, Ayca Ozturk, Bernhard Hommel. Meditate to Create: The Impact of Focused-Attention and Open-Monitoring Training on Convergent and Divergent ThinkingFrontiers in Psychology, 2012; 3 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00116

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