By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
Researchers from Cornell, Penn and UNC determine that we all harbor a subtle bias against creativity -- and it comes from a need for certainty.
Most people view creativity as an asset. So why do we reject creative ideas so often in real life?
Researchers sought to understand this phenomenon and found that the uncertainty of creativity often led to the rejection of such ideas -- even when creativity itself is a stated goal.
To find out, Cornell University professor Jack Goncalo, University of Pennsylvania professor Jennifer Mueller and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill's Shimul Melwani put participants through a series of mental association tests that revealed their reactions to certain words and situations, such as winning a lottery.
They found that study participants associated creative ideas with negative words -- such as "vomit," "poison" and "agony" -- even when they said outright that they favored creativity.
Simply, there was a subtle bias against creativity that favored practicality. And it was motivated by a need to achieve certainty, even in the face of novel new products, such as a nanotechnology-infused running shoe (said to better cool the foot and reduce blisters) used during the study.
The researchers write:
Uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it most. Revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary. ... The field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more creative ideas to identify how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity.
Photo: Ryan Berry/Flickr
Sep 7, 2011
to hear these things from other inventors too. But how can we change this behavior in uncreative people, who are the majority nevertheless? Are there any creative psychologists out there???
This explains why some people insist that global warming, for instance, is made up. Indeed most of those folks think alot of science is made up. It also explains why I don't have a problem with it. I feel no need to have everything 100% certain.
Established businesses fear inventors. Edison himself fought Tesla's AC power because it made his DC network obsolete. Inventors are unwelcome because they are a threat to business as usual and to the predictable profits that money people expect. Academics fear weirdos. A weirdo is a person whose ideas do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy. "Weird" and "weirdo" are slandering and taunting words that American kids learn early in their social interactions. By the time an academic has completed his formal education, this prejudice is ingrained. If a weirdo is wrong, or if you don't know if he is wrong or not, he is a "crank." If he's right, how embarrassing for you and your colleagues. So what is to be gained by talking to weirdos? Consorting with weirdos might ruin your chance of tenure. The first inventor was Prometheus, who gave humans fire. Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, punished Prometheus for the gift of fire by chaining him to a rock and having buzzards eat his liver every day. Governments everywhere hate invention and support orthodoxy with punitive measures because the fire of intellectual discovery is a threat to the status quo and might lead to revolution. "Fire bad" was also the firm conclusion of Frankenstein, a monster put together from human parts, like governments.
1st the idea must leave the lab and go through a test phase. Then have a manufacturer, or other souce make it into a useful consumer product. Not to mention that it will be expensive at first, so only a few people will embrace it. Later, if it proves to be a viable product that is needed, it will be popular. Microwave ovens, cell phones are but two of these creative ideas that went through that product cycle. Even electronic games have followed an adopton cycle. Most people do not like big change in their lives. The younger a person, the more likely they will embrace new products. But young people do not have the money. I wonder if the study also looked into whether the participants had been burned with new technology in the past.
The hard part is telling the difference between a great idea and a great scam. Some people have a lower tolerance for the latter so they may wait on the former.
Ideas rule the World- Albert Einstein. " If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means that they had never tried a new thing in their life - Albert Einstein. I will not say I failed 1000 times, I will say that I discovered 1000 ways that can cause failure - Thomas Alva Edison. Being an inventor myself, I have the following advice. 1. Never discuss in detail with others on an idea which you think has potential to be a breakthrough. The first reaction with most is to throw cold water on your idea and other smart guys give you other suggestions for improvement (which are not practical) so that you will be carried away by their suggestions and deviate from your original thinking. Then they will pursue your idea to your dismay. 2. Many a time the person with a creative idea is supreme but not the evaluators (Unless the evaluators are unbiased and honest). 3. Creative person should always take it for granted that criticicism,legpulling is part of life. It is foolish to expect that everybody respects your creative idea. Jealousy is the birthright of many. As Einstein put it, ENTHUSIASM IS THE KEYNOTE TO SUCCESS. 4. Always keep a pen and small book by your bedside, in bath room etc.. Eureka ideas are rare and suddenly come. 5. Publish in reputed journals/newsletters salient features of your creative ideas (keeping the main thing as secret). Because when once people see something in Black and White,they think twice before to copy it. Finally, DISCOVER INENTION. Dr.A.Jagadeesh Director Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives Nellore (AP), India E-mail: email@example.com Blog: www.drjagadeeshncda.blogspot.com
Totally agree with your points #1 and #3. Not everyone are open to ideas. As much as we would like to share the ideas, it's often best to trickle-feed the audience.