Creativity and fast thinking

A very interesting study has me smiling whenever I do creative problem solving now.

When three words are put together like “water, air, salt” – humans have an uncanny ability to sense whether or not there is a commonality between them. Among other interesting finds in the study – I found the most relevant to be that when participants were asked to think about negative experiences and induce negative feelings, their ability to sense whether there would be a commonality among these words is almost completely lost.

Their minds switch to System 2 which is plotting and slow – but makes less mistakes than its more intuitive and free counterpart, system 1. The reason it switches is due to a complex system of cognitive load and ease. Which would take more than this post to explain.

Point is: if you’re doing something creative – smile. You heavily decrease your ability to connect concepts in a creative fashion when sad.

The three words at the top of this, by the way, all relate to the word “sea” – but you knew that already didn’t you.
The study is taken from Daniel Kahneman’s book “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. The original source can be obtained from that book.


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