Vagueness is the enemy of creativity. Beethoven didn’t just come up with the idea that a symphony could express heroism; he also wrote the precise notes that conveyed that concept in sound. For ideas to be both novel and useful—a standard definition of creativity—they need to be expressed in highly specific terms.
But how do you make the leap from a hazy notion to one that is spelled out in practical details? Newly published research points to one simple technique that may do the trick.
Such an exercise “affects a process tapped by both memory and imagining,” a research team led by Harvard University psychologist Kevin Madore writes in the journal Psychological Science. The researchers report the technique does not boost all indicators of creativity, but does enhance one that is often used as a marker: the ability to come up with non-obvious uses for common objects.
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