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I haven't done it because I like that search function, but others might!
What's shocking is how incredibly well Torrance's creativity index predicted those kids' creative accomplishments as adults. Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance's tasks [as children] grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers. Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University recently reanalyzed Torrance’s data. The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.Emphasis mine. I was surprised when I learned that optimism is a better indicator than IQ or talent for which people will go on to be successful, but this statement blows my mind! Creativity, rather than pure intelligence, is what drives humanity's great leaps forward--and in a huge range of fields, too.
Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect--each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.Okay, setting aside the whole THE SKY IS FALLING insinuations here, this "Flynn effect" fascinates me.
Overwhelmed by curriculum standards, American teachers warn there's no room in the day for a creativity class. Kids are fortunate if they get an art class once or twice a week. But to scientists, this is a non sequitur, borne out of what University of Georgia's Mark Runco calls "art bias." The age-old belief that the arts have a special claim to creativity is unfounded. When scholars gave creativity tasks to both engineering majors and music majors, their scores laid down on an identical spectrum, with the same high averages and standard deviations. Inside their brains, the same thing was happening--ideas were being generated and evaluated on the fly.This doesn't surprise me; I've said before that art is just as hard as science and science is just as creative as art. Still, it's gratifying to learn this has been tested and there's convincing evidence to support my flakey opinions on the matter.
When you try to solve a problem, you begin by concentrating on obvious facts and familiar solutions, to see if the answer lies there. This is a mostly left-brain stage of attack. If the answer doesn’t come, the right and left hemispheres of the brain activate together. Neural networks on the right side scan remote memories that could be vaguely relevant. A wide range of distant information that is normally tuned out becomes available to the left hemisphere, which searches for unseen patterns, alternative meanings, and high-level abstractions.~~~
Having glimpsed such a connection, the left brain must quickly lock in on it before it escapes. The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the "aha!" moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it's come up with.
Now the brain must evaluate the idea it just generated. Is it worth pursuing? Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas. Highly creative people are very good at marshaling their brains into bilateral mode, and the more creative they are, the more they dual-activate.
In the same way, there are certain innate features of the brain that make some people naturally prone to divergent thinking. But convergent thinking and focused attention are necessary, too, and those require different neural gifts. Crucially, rapidly shifting between these modes is a top-down function under your mental control. University of New Mexico neuroscientist Rex Jung has concluded that those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better. A lifetime of consistent habits gradually changes the neurological pattern.Emphasis mine. We think of creativity as being a "struck by lightning" affair, but practising creativity on a daily basis makes you more lightning-prone.
Consider the National Inventors Hall of Fame School, a new public middle school in Akron, Ohio. Mindful of Ohio's curriculum requirements, the school’s teachers came up with a project for the fifth graders: figure out how to reduce the noise in the library. (...) Along the way, kids demonstrated the very definition of creativity: alternating between divergent and convergent thinking, they arrived at original and useful ideas. And they'd unwittingly mastered Ohio's required fifth-grade curriculum--from understanding sound waves to per-unit cost calculations to the art of persuasive writing. (...) Two weeks ago, when the school received its results on the state's achievement test, principal Traci Buckner was moved to tears. The raw scores indicate that, in its first year, the school has already become one of the top three schools in Akron, despite having open enrollment by lottery and 42 percent of its students living in poverty.~~~
The new view is that creativity is part of normal brain function. Some scholars go further, arguing that lack of creativity--not having loads of it--is the real risk factor. (...) A subset of respondents, like the proverbial Murphy, quickly list every imaginable way things can go wrong. But they demonstrate a complete lack of flexibility in finding creative solutions. It's this inability to conceive of alternative approaches that leads to despair.~~~~~~~
Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning
A drowning person doesn't wave their arms; they're using them to keep their head out of the water.
A drowning person doesn't yell; they haven't got enough breath.
Drowning looks nothing like what you've seen on television.
Roughly half of all children who drown do it within 25 metres of a parent or other adult, and in 10% of the cases, the adult watches it happen because they don't recognize what they're seeing.
Excerpt of Hogfather by Terry PratchettThe problem with trying to analyze humour is as soon as you try to determine what makes something funny, it stops seeming funny.
There was no doubt that whoever had shut it wanted it to stay shut. Dozens of nails secured it to the door frame. Planks had been nailed right across. And finally it had, up until this morning, been hidden by a bookcase that had been put in front of it.
"And there's the sign, Ridcully," said the Dean. "You have read it, I assume. You know? The sign which says 'Do not, under any circumstances, open this door'?"
"Of course I've read it, " said Ridcully. "Why d'yer think I want it opened?"
"Er...why?" said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
"To see why they wanted it shut, of course."†
†This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilization. At least, those bits of it that are now under the sea, fenced off or still smoking.
An inebriated guest walks up to his host. "Mr. Hilcrombe, these lemons you've provided to flavour our drinks with are terrible!"The punchline twists the listener's assumptions in order to deliver an unexpected truth--an interpretation of that scenario that is valid, but a surprise.
"What? I haven't provided any lemons."
"Oh, good heavens! Then I must apologize, sir; I've just squeezed your canary into my martini."A simple knock-knock joke delivers a surprise interpretation of the answer to "Who's there?"
Knock, knock.The final answer is unexpected, but it's a valid interpretation of the setup.
The Esther bunny.