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People With The Characteristics Of Both Genders Are More Creative

People With The Characteristics Of Both Genders Are More Creative

Men are masculine, women are feminine.

This seems to be the norm that we live with, and because of this gender expectation, we subconsciously repress the personalities or qualities that don’t fit the mold. But let’s be honest, are you the typical man or woman? Guys, do you have sentimental and sensitive moments? Ladies, can you be aggressive and tough too?

Creativity and psychological androgyny are closely linked.

Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi discovered through a study[1] that a creative and innovative mindset usually have both masculine and feminine traits, which he dubbed the quality psychological androgyny. Being psychologically androgynous does not equal to homosexuality, (while sexual preference is also not a criteria of psychological androgyny), it simply refers to a person’s ability to possess the strengths of both genders.

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Long before cognitive scientists linked creativity and psychological androgyny together, one of the greatest writers Virginia Woolf quoted early 19th-century English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge to articulate her point of view on this topic[2]:

The truth is a great mind must be androgynous.

Woolf thinks in order to reach the creative plateau, an individual must fuse masculinity and femininity all into one. So, why are people with qualities from both genders more creative?

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They are able to see things from double perspectives.

Regardless of a person’s gender, possessing the characteristics of both genders allows a wider and richer outlook on things. When a psychologically androgynous person has behavioral traits of the opposite gender, they are more likely to put things in perspectives and see things in the shoes of both men and women. In the study done by Csikszentmihalyi, he concluded,

A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities.[3]

With the interweaving of masculine and feminine characteristics, creatives are more likely to be stimulated by other experiences or perspectives to create unusual or exceptional pieces. Simply think about how literary greats like William Shakespeare and Marcel Proust write with such fluidity and delicate illustrations of emotions; or take Ursula K. Le Guin’s intuitive yet analytical fiction writing styles as an examples; you will soon understand — creative people have an androgynous mind.

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    They are hard and soft at the same time.

    Because of their ability to comprehend and digest things from different perspectives, creative individuals carry qualities of both genders with balance. They are able to be as dominating as the “masculine” stereotype, but also seams the vulnerable, “feminine” side into their personality.

    Famous actress Charlize Theron has starred in major films in almost every genre because of her masculine and feminine personality traits. She has played the crime drama film Monster as serial killer Aileen Wuornos, also acted in the motion-packed Mad Max: Fury Road, and in western comedy film A Million Ways to Die in the West. She has proven her ability to portray different characters from a fiercely masculine commander, to a rather subdued wife figure, and off-screen she is both a tough woman in Hollywood and sensitive towards women issues.

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      Psychological androgyny has more benefits.

      Apart from being linked to creativity, having an androgynous mind softens men’s hardness and boosts women’s confidence. When a man has the feminine sensitivity, alongside his brawny, dominating personality, he is more attractive to women, and is generally more capable to handle and balance work and romantic relationships. On the other hand, a woman who adopts a more aggressive approach with her submissive features, she looks wiser, bolder, and stronger.

      It is a merger but not replacement.

      Psychological androgyny does not mean completely acting like the opposing gender. You still retain your own personality, just fuse it with certain opposing qualities. For men, adding some sensitivity to your logical mind doesn’t downplay your authority; for women, being tough doesn’t automatically make you bossy. Don’t be afraid to step out of your gender expectations and be a better, more all-rounded person!

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      Frank Yung

      Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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      Last Updated on June 6, 2019

      Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

      Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

      In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

      Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

      Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

      Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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         A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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        The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

        “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

        In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

        The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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          A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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          Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

          “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

          When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

          The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

          As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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          “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

          Silence relieves stress and tension.

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            It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

            A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

            “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

            Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

            Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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              The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

              Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

              But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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              Summation

              Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

              Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

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