It is known that one way to become more creative is to shift one’s perspective.The best selling author of The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown, is said to hang upside down with gravity boots to help shift his perspective for the creativity needed in his novels. Travel is another helpful method for shifting perspective. There is now some new research to show that distance can be helpful in making a person more creative. But the research has an important and interesting qualifier.
The distance doesn’t have to be physical. It can just be psychological. Researchers at Indiana University have conducted experiments where they found that merely stating that a problem was formulated in a faraway place (California) as opposed to locally (Indiana) or not saying anything, can make people more creative in solving the problem.
This effect seems to happen because of the way we see things. According to Construal Level Theory, we tend to see things that are far away more abstractly and things that are nearby more concretely. That makes sense from our everyday experience in simply viewing things. We focus more on the details when objects are closer. Working off this and related work on time, the researchers wondered if subtle psychological cues would be sufficient to alter the way people think.
As it turns out it does. The mere mention of problems being formulated in faraway places is sufficient to make people think more abstractly and develop insights that get them to the answer. Similar research has also shown that creativity is enhanced when people are asked to think of a future time period when solving a problem.
So when faced with a situation requiring creativity, just think of your favorite exotic getaway! You don’t even have to spend the money to go there – just think about it.
Read here the full write-up that first appeared in Scientific American.