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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Morning Routines are Creativity Killers | Annie Murphy Paul, The Creativity Post

Hmmmmm. Part of my daily morning routine is to check Google alerts and websites for articles and blogs to feature in Garbl'd Thoughts. I think that routine inspires me for the day, but research reported in this article suggests something different:
Everything about the way we start our day runs counter to the best conditions for thinking creatively.
Paul writes:
In a study published in the journal Thinking and Reasoning last year, researchers Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks reported that imaginative insights are most likely to come to us when we’re groggy and unfocused. The mental processes that inhibit distracting or irrelevant thoughts are at their weakest in these moments, allowing unexpected and sometimes inspired connections to be made. ...
She also writes that our daily commuter stress and reading the morning newspaper also can reduce creativity:
A recent study published in the journal Psychological Science found that subjects who watched brief video clips that made them feel sad were less able to solve problems creatively than people who watched an upbeat video. A positive mood, wrote researcher Ruby Nadler and her co-authors, increases “cognitive flexibility,” while a negative mood narrows our mental horizons. ...
But, hey, not all our morning routines are bad news. She writes (no research cited, but I've read about this before):
Caffeine not only makes us more alert, as we all know — it also increases the brain’s level of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that influences feelings of motivation and reward when we hit on a great idea.
Paul's article also gives some ideas to counter these creativity-affecting routines. She, BTW, is author of a new book, Brilliant: The Science of Smart. 
This article is featured today (Aug. 28) in Garbl's Creativity Connections--available at the Creativity tab above and by free email subscription.

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