English
 
Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse

Item

ITEM ACTIONSEXPORT

Released

Journal Article

Inspired by distraction: Mind wandering facilitates creative incubation

MPS-Authors
/persons/resource/persons22949

Smallwood,  Jonathan
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available
Citation

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.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-EA1E-9
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.