NASA Scientists Claim Imagination Is Crucial

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Eistein

Image Credit: Pink Floyd "The Wall" / Another Brick In The Wall

NASA scientists have asked George Land and Beth Jarman to create a test for measuring the creative potential of their specialists. They developed an unusual test studying the creative (divergent) thinking – an ability to suggest multiple solutions to one problem. Initially it was meant for NASA space engineering scientists, but the researchers wanted to go deeper and find out what the nature of creativity is. 1,600 children aged 4 and 5 took part in the tests, and the researchers were shocked by the results they received.

98% of tested children turned out to be at genius level! That same children were tested again 5 years later. Only 30% of them fell into genius category that time. When the scientists repeated the study on this group of children another five years later, they were shocked by the results. Only 12% of them turned out to be genii. The test was also conducted on adults above 25. Only 2% of them were included into genius category.

Natural Born Genii

The conclusion is quite evident. We all are natural born genii, but school stultifies our mental capabilities. School has always been a tool to control the society and serve the governing class needs. Perhaps, government doesn’t want its people to be too intelligent, as the brainy ones are harder to be controlled and imposed opinion on.

Whether or not the creativity potential depends on the school system, we can’t but wonder if it is possible to become a genius again. Land says that imagination can’t be completely annihilated. When you are asleep, your imagination is working, and it means that creativity potential is also just sleeping. You simply need to weak it up! The solution is to discover a five year old in yourself again. How do you do it? Very easily! Take a fork and think of 25 ways to improve it!

There are two main processes taking part in brain: convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent and divergent thinking are terms suggested by an American psychologist Joy Paul Guilford. Convergent thinking means the ability to give so called “correct answers” to standard questions. Divergent thinking is a thought method used to generate creative ideas. When we evaluate, choose and criticize, we use convergent thinking, and when we generate new ideas we think divergently.

No Fear

Land believes that people should be less critical and more curious. Fear is very detrimental. He says that yoga, sports activities, and diet will help to get rid of anxiety and fear and stimulate the emergence of new cells in brain.

Land also added that in order to avoid being stultified, we should take care of the environment around us. He says that in order to increase the creative potential one should try to keep away from narrow-minded people, stop watching fear awaking news channels and shows, as well as music videos with stereotype images. One shouldn’t allow imagination to be shaped by some outside forces.

How to Enhance Imagination

Psychologists say that imagination is a bridge between what we know and what can possibly happen. Consequently, you should gain knowledge first. Read books (even boring ones), travel, keep asking questions, and be curious.

Imagine the impossible. Try to imagine new colors, new animal species, new countries, and perhaps even people. Remember how you asked questions about everything when you were four years old? Why is the sky blue? Why do you say drink when you want to drink? Why is car a car?

And last but not least: don’t be afraid of trying new things. Remember that routine kills imagination, and new impressions stimulate it.

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