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The Controlled Chaos of Creativity

The Controlled Chaos of Creativity

Author’s work rooms all look remarkably alike — stacked books and papers and a lovely air of barely contained chaos. This applies across the creative class of artists, writers, musicians, entertainers…

Californian professer, Sarnoff A. Mednick, has been reasoning with our anarchic method of organisation, exploring the root of creative ideas.

Mednick looks at how people associate certain things with others (the core of creative activity) and the links they make between words. He disputed that creative people link more abstract words to other words than less creative people. For example, when given the word ‘ball’, the creative may think of the word ‘exercise’, whereas a less creative person may think of a simpler and direct word such as ‘football’.

The conclusion to all of Mednick’s fun with words is that creative people have a greater ability to associate more distant and random things and thoughts. This is why our minds may seem scattered, and our rooms may look like pandemonium — our brains are accessing more sources than the average.

At least this is what we can tell our housemates.

For a lovely diagram of the words most commonly used by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Dylan Thomas, and more details, read more on the Scientific American Blog.

5 Responses

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  1. Debbie Young says:

    I won’t beat myself up about the chaos that is my workspace today then! Less willing to apply the same rule to my daughter’s bedroom though…

  2. Elaine S Moxon says:

    I loved this, though confess to all my writing folders being neatly stashed in a bookcase. This is, however, due to the fact I have to write on the dining table at the moment (office under reorganisation due to chaos!). When researching I find it very easy to lose the table beneath paper.

  3. Sandi says:

    Wonderful! My studio is exquisitely artistic. That’s what I’ll tell everyone from now on.

  4. Orna Ross says:

    Three cheers for chaos… Though, Elaine, I’ve never managed to lose a table. Well done! :)

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