جایی که در آن خلاقیت ساکن است: قدرت مولد اندیشه ناخودآگاه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|32061||2006||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||5324 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Consciousness and Cognition, Volume 15, Issue 1, March 2006, Pages 135–146
In three experiments, the relation between different modes of thought and the generation of “creative” and original ideas was investigated. Participants were asked to generate items according to a specific instruction (e.g., generate place names starting with an “A”). They either did so immediately after receiving the instruction, or after a few minutes of conscious thought, or after a few minutes of distraction during which “unconscious thought” was hypothesized to take place. Throughout the experiments, the items participants listed under “unconscious thought” conditions were more original. It was concluded that whereas conscious thought may be focused and convergent, unconscious thought may be more associative and divergent. Gadget timed out while loading
Creativity has long been associated with the labor of the unconscious mind. Nobel laureates and famous artists, when probed to introspect on the process leading to their discoveries or creations, often emphasize the crucial role of the unconscious. The importance of some conscious activity notwithstanding, it is the unconscious that at some point produces the truly “creative” or unique thought. It seems that unique insights often results from a process whereby some initial conscious thought is followed by a period during which the problem is put to rest. Subsequently, after this period without conscious thought, a solution or idea presents itself. This stage during which one refrains from conscious thought and during which the unconscious is at work, is called incubation. The goal of the present paper is to shed light on the relation between incubation and creativity. Creativity is a broad term and it should be noted that we do not use it to refer to all the intricacies of stellar achievements of geniuses such as Mozart or Einstein. Rather, we focus on one aspect of creativity: the generation of new and original thoughts. People do associate creativity with thinking the non-obvious and the original, and we hypothesize that such non-obvious or original thoughts are more likely to be elicited by incubation than by focused, conscious thought. Whereas the anecdotal evidence for incubation is both spectacular and abundant (Claxton, 1997, Ghiselin, 1952, Koestler, 1964 and Schooler and Melcher, 1995), for a long time incubation was hard to establish in the psychological laboratory. Moreover, the few scientific demonstrations that became available over the years were often hard to replicate (see Olton, 1979; for an early review). Part of the problem may have been that researchers investigating incubation usually used so-called insight problems. Such problems have only one specific and often counterintuitive solution, causing a “Eureka experience” once found. The choice for the use of such problems is understandable, as a sizeable portion of creative ideas that occur in real life are often characterized by such sudden insights. However, solutions to insight problems are sometimes very hard to find (true needles in haystacks, see Dijksterhuis, 2004) and the difficulty to obtain sound evidence may have been caused by the fact that the period of incubation experimental participants are given in a lab experiment is often very short compared to real life creativity. After all, sometimes creativity can take months or even years. Still, in the past 15 years some evidence for incubation has been found (e.g., Bowers et al., 1990 and Smith and Blankenship, 1989). Smith and Blankenship (1989) for instance, gave their participants various insight problems to solve. Some were quickly solved by the participants whereas others were not. Giving participants an immediate second go at the unsolved problems did not help. However, after a delay during which they were distracted and could not attend to the problems, participants’ performance improved. The reason distraction helped is that participants were given some misleading cues at the outset and distraction helped them forgot these misleading cues. Schooler and Melcher (1995) reviewed the literature on incubation and concluded that distraction can lead to “set-shifting.” People often approach a problem with the use of wrong cues, wrong heuristics, and/or wrong information. A period of distraction makes that such wrong approaches become less accessible or are forgotten altogether. The effects of distraction on a change of mental set can be both strong (such as when one tries to solve a chess problem and initially gets truly “fixed” in thinking along a wrong line) and fairly subtle (such as when distraction attenuates the biasing influence of primacy or recency effects). Such processes can be grouped under the umbrella of the “a fresh look” explanation: putting a problem aside for a while allows for a fresh, unbiased new start. There is no denying that putting a problem aside for a while indeed allows for a fresh start and that such a fresh start often helps. The question, however, is whether this is the sole benefit of a period of distraction. Explaining effects of incubation in terms of set-shifting suggests that the role of the unconscious is merely passive. Problems are solved because of the temporary absence of conscious thought, but the unconscious mind does not contribute anything to solve the problem. The term incubation suggests more though. It suggests that the unconscious also actively thinks and contributes to solving a problem (see also Claxton, 1997 and Koestler, 1964). There is some evidence for true “unconscious thought.” In experiments conducted by Bowers et al. (1990), participants were asked to guess a target word while they were given successive hints (words associated with the target words). Typically, participants are clueless for a while and then suddenly know the right answer. However, after carefully examining participants’ prior, wrong guesses, it was concluded that participants are slowly getting closer to the right answer. It may “feel” as if the answer is suddenly presented to consciousness, however, before the answer become conscious, the unconscious is clearly thinking about it. It is, as it were already approaching the target. In addition, Dijksterhuis (2004) recently compared conscious and unconscious thought in the realm of decision making. In several experiments, participants received information about various alternatives (e.g., apartments, roommates) with the goal to decide what alternative is the most attractive. Participants either chose immediately after they received the information, or after a period during which they were allowed to consciously think about the various alternatives, or after a period of distraction. In this latter condition, participants were assumed to engage in unconscious thought. These unconscious thinkers consistently made the best decisions as judged from a normative perspective. Additional evidence indicated that the mental representations of the various alternatives changed during unconscious thought. They became more clear and more organized. In sum, not only did the unconscious think, but this thinking was more fruitful than conscious thought in that it led to better decisions.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The findings reported here speak to the relevance of unconscious thought in general and to the relation between unconscious thought and creativity or divergent thinking. One could say that unconscious thought is more “liberal” than conscious thought and leads to the generation of items or ideas that are less obvious, less accessible and more creative. Upon being confronted with a task that requires a certain degree of creativity, it pays off to delegate the labor of thinking to the unconscious mind.