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  Inspired by distraction: Mind wandering facilitates creative incubation

Baird, B., Smallwood, J., Mrazek, M. D., Kam, J. W. Y., Franklin, M. S., & Schooler, J. W. (2012). Inspired by distraction: Mind wandering facilitates creative incubation. Psychological Science, 23(10), 1117-1122. doi:10.1177/0956797612446024.

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 Creators:
Baird, Benjamin1, Author
Smallwood, Jonathan2, Author           
Mrazek, Michael D.1, Author
Kam , Julia W. Y. 3, Author
Franklin, Michael S.1, Author
Schooler, Jonathan W.1, Author
Affiliations:
1Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California Santa Barbara, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
2Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634552              
3Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Creativity; Consciousness; Insight
 Abstract: Although anecdotes that creative thoughts often arise when one is engaged in an unrelated train of thought date back thousands of years, empirical research has not yet investigated this potentially critical source of inspiration. We used an incubation paradigm to assess whether performance on validated creativity problems (the Unusual Uses Task, or UUT) can be facilitated by engaging in either a demanding task or an undemanding task that maximizes mind wandering. Compared with engaging in a demanding task, rest, or no break, engaging in an undemanding task during an incubation period led to substantial improvements in performance on previously encountered problems. Critically, the context that improved performance after the incubation period was associated with higher levels of mind wandering but not with a greater number of explicitly directed thoughts about the UUT. These data suggest that engaging in simple external tasks that allow the mind to wander may facilitate creative problem solving.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2012-03-292012-08-312012-10
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1177/0956797612446024
PMID: 22941876
Other: Epub 2012
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Title: Psychological Science
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 23 (10) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1117 - 1122 Identifier: ISSN: 0956-7976
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/974392592005