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The Association Between Creativity And Open-Mindedness

The Association Between Creativity And Open-Mindedness
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A recent study points to the positive aspects of being distracted easily.

Naresh Kumar
  • 4 october 2010

ADD sufferers rejoice! No, scientists haven’t found a cure for it yet, but they have discovered that people who are distracted easily are probably more creative than those who are more attentive. In recent research by neuroscientists from Harvard and the University of Toronto, it was found that participants in the study who were considered creative achievers based on their accomplishments and performance in several tests were 7 times more likely to “suffer” from low latent inhibition (the capacity to ignore stimuli that seem irrelevant).

Wired elaborates on the study:

This makes some sense: The association between creativity and open-mindedness has long been recognized, and what’s more open-minded than distractability? People with low latent inhibition are literally unable to close their mind, to keep the spotlight of attention from drifting off to the far corners of the stage. The end result is that they can’t help but consider the unexpected.

But it’s not enough to simply pay attention to everything – such a deluge of sensation can quickly get confusing. This is why, according to the Toronto researchers, low latent inhibition only leads to increased creativity when it’s paired with a willingness to analyze our excess of thoughts, to constantly search for the signal amid the noise. We need to let more information in, but we also need to be ruthless about throwing out the useless stuff.

NCBI: Decreased latent inhibition is associated with increased creative achievement in high-functioning individuals

Wired: “Are Distractible People More Creative?”

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