1. You are sarcastic
Sarcasm can actually promote creative thinking, a study finds.
Researchers have discovered that sarcasm can actually cause creativity, rather than just being its byproduct.
Sarcasm may not even be detrimental to relationships, if used between people who know each other.
Despite being considered one of the lowest forms of wit, sarcasm actually requires considerable mental powers to produce.
2. Your mind wanders
People tend to think of daydreaming and letting the mind wander as a waste of time.
How wrong they are.
New research suggests daydreaming could be key to success and higher creativity.
Professor Moshe Bar, who led the research said:
“Over the last 15 or 20 years, scientists have shown that — unlike the localized neural activity associated with specific tasks — mind wandering involves the activation of a gigantic default network involving many parts of the brain.
This cross-brain involvement may be involved in behavioral outcomes such as creativity and mood, and may also contribute to the ability to stay successfully on-task while the mind goes off on its merry mental way.”
3. You talk to people you disagree with
New technologies and ideas emerge from our collected brains — not individual geniuses, new research finds.
Innovations emerge, the paper argues, by small improvements, the mixing of ideas, situations and pure luck.
The best thing you can do to be more creative, one of the paper’s authors argues, is to talk to people who disagree with you.
Societal innovation is affected by three factors, the researchers found:
- Larger more interconnected societies where ideas can mix.
- Easy transmission of useful knowledge between people so that it can be built upon.
- Tolerance for deviation: trying new things is hard and the rate of failure is high. This has to be allowed for.
4. You ignore deadlines
Ignoring deadlines and steering clear of analytical thinking are two factors linked to “Aha!” moments, new psychological research finds.
These Aha! moments or instances of pure insight are more often correct than analytical thinking, the study found.
Professor John Kounios, one of the study’s authors, said:
“Conscious, analytic thinking can sometimes be rushed or sloppy, leading to mistakes while solving a problem.
However, insight is unconscious and automatic — it can’t be rushed.
When the process runs to completion in its own time and all the dots are connected unconsciously, the solution pops into awareness as an Aha! moment.
This means that when a really creative, breakthrough idea is needed, it’s often best to wait for the insight rather than settling for an idea that resulted from analytical thinking.”
5. You are neurotic
High levels of creativity may go hand-in-hand with neuroticism, research finds.
It’s because the area of the brain which is linked to creativity also has the tendency to over-think things and worry.
Dr Adam Perkins, the study’s first author, said:
“…we hope that our new theory will help people make sense of their own experiences, and show that although being highly neurotic is by definition unpleasant, it also has creative benefits.”
6. You let the unconscious do its work
The more you consciously think, the less creative you are, a new study finds.
The researchers had people playing ‘Pictionary’, a game where you have to try and draw a word.
At the same time their brains were scanned to see which areas were most active, and when.
Professor Allan Reiss, one of the study’s authors, said:
“As our study also shows, sometimes a deliberate attempt to be creative may not be the best way to optimize your creativity.
While greater effort to produce creative outcomes involves more activity of executive-control regions, you actually may have to reduce activity in those regions in order to achieve creative outcomes.”
7. You are easily distracted
High creativity goes hand-in-hand with being easily distracted, a new study finds.
The study found that creative people find it particularly difficult to cut out noises like car horns, taps dripping or people talking outside.
Creative people have more ‘leaky’ sensory filters, which allows them to integrate ideas which they are not necessarily focusing on.
It may explain why many creative geniuses, like Marcel Proust and Anton Chekhov, were so easily distracted.
Famously, Proust lined the bedroom where he wrote with cork and used ear-stoppers to help him concentrate.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
Sarcastic woman image from Shutterstock