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What Does Weirdness Have To Do With Creativity? Scientists Explain

What Does Weirdness Have To Do With Creativity? Scientists Explain

“A highly original person may seem unusual or strange to others”. – Neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreason.

Creativity is defined as “the ability to make new things” or think of “new ideas.” The ability to do both these requires original thinking and drawing from past experiences, abilities, and skills.

Creativity is not reserved for the artists; the painters, the authors, and the writers. Everyone is creative in their own way. As Tyler Tervooren explains “Creativity is all around us but, for so many, it remains invisible—hidden in plain sight—because we’ve conditioned ourselves to look for it in only a few places. There are so many places you can draw new ideas from to improve your work if you look just a little harder. “

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But why are some people more creative than others? The concept of latent inhibition is used to explain this.

Latent Inhibition and why we are creative

“Latent inhibition is a term used to explain how our observation of a familiar stimulus (e.g. something we have seen or heard before) takes longer to acquire meaning than a new stimulus” – Low Latent Inhibition.

For example, consider how we observe a doorknob. We know it’s purpose. It’s there to help us open a door.  We don’t give it much notice. This makes sense as we see it every day. We open a lot of doors every day. Consequently, our brains apply the same rules to all doorknobs (and all new stimuli). If we were to analyze each and every doorknob, looking at finer details and questioning why it was chosen, our brains would be overloaded. Our brains would not be able to cope.

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We then, filter out information to experience the world in a manageable way. It keeps us sane. The majority of us have a strong filter to keep out irrelevant information. The more creative individuals, however, have a lower filter or low latent inhibition. In a 2003 study, Shelley Carson found that eminent creative achievers were seven times more likely to have low rather than high latent intelligence scores.

Carson gives this example for low latent inhibitions in action: “A person with low latent inhibitions would not only see a yellow desk lamp, they may also think of bananas, Spongebob Squarepants, or Spongebob Squarepants eating a banana, or possibly concoct a whole dissertation in their head about whether or not Spongebob likes to eat bananas, or how he could get them down in the ocean”.

Many creatives fail to ignore information that generally would be irrelevant. This is known as cognitive disinhibition. Their creative brain is geared toward information absorbing a lot if information. And whilst this can be stifling, it can also be the perfect recipe for creative genius.

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How creativity and weirdness are linked

Weirdness is such a relative word. My weird will not be your weird. The same principles apply to beauty, love and other abstract constructs, like creativity.

Looking at the definition of weird, words such as “unusual” or “strange” are mentioned. Elaborating, someone who thinks unconventionally sees the world differently and does not fit within the box of what is considered “normal” is weird. Such individuals are unique. They are original. They disturb the status quo.

The common theme that binds weirdness and creativity is originality. Both fall outside the normal spectrum of what is considered normal. If there is a link between low latent inhibition and creativity, and there is also a link between creativity and weirdness through originality, then it follows that low latent inhibition is linked to weirdness through creativity. Weird people are creative through low latent inhibition. What do you think?

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Featured photo credit: Terry Presley via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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