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Friday, April 27, 2012

Five Embodied Metaphors That Actually Foster Creative Thinking | Jeremy Dean, 109.com

We often hear those cliches about "thinking outside the box," "putting 2 and 2 together," and "seeing both sides of a problem." Well, those metaphors become cliches because they're used so often by writers and speakers who believe they help clarify a point; they think readers and listeners will understood the point without much explanation.

But cliches can be boring, "same old same old" crutches that writers and speakers use without thinking, "Is that the best way to make my point?" Or even: "Is that the most creative or most powerful way to make my point?" And listeners and readers might totally ignore the once-creative metaphor: "Ho hum. I've heard that before ...."

But, Dean writes:
[W]hat if we could boost our creativity by taking these metaphors literally? We know our minds interact in all sorts of interesting ways with our bodies — what if we enacted these metaphors physically?
So he discusses a new study published in the journal Psychological Science by Angela K.-y. Leung and her colleagues in the School of Social Sciences at Singapore Management University. He writes:
Their findings from five studies demonstrate how a person can become more creative simply by changing their posture, establishing a link between creativity and what psychologists refer to as "embodied cognition."
He briefly describes each one:
  1. On one hand ... on the other hand 
  2. Literally sit outside a box
  3. Wander around, but not in a square 
  4. Put two and two together 
  5. Imagine it.
And then he concludes:
All of these studies show how the position of our bodies feeds back into the state of our minds — what the researchers call "a connection between concrete bodily experiences and creative cognition." It also reveals how deeply metaphors for creativity are embedded in our consciousness.
I like this! It's putting those metaphors--those cliches--in new wrapping to present them in a new way, to repackage creativity. What a gift for creative thinking!

For more information on this topic, check out Garbl's Creativity Resources Online


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