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Meditation makes you more creative, study suggests

Date:
October 28, 2014
Source:
Leiden University
Summary:
Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking, even if you have never meditated before. The study is a clear indication that you don't need to be an experienced meditator to profit more from meditation. The findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we conceive new ideas.
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Certain meditation techniques can promote creative thinking, even if you have never meditated before. This is the outcome of a study by cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato and Dominique Lippelt at Leiden University, published in Mindfulness.

Long-lasting influence

The study is a clear indication that you don't need to be an experienced meditator to profit more from meditation. The findings support the belief that meditation can have a long-lasting influence on human cognition, including how we conceive new ideas. Besides experienced meditators, also novices may profit from meditation.

Different techniques, different effects

But the results demonstrate that not all forms of meditation have the same effect on creativity. Test persons performed better in divergent thinking (= thinking up as many possible solutions for a given problem) after Open Monitoring meditation (= being receptive to every thought and sensation). The researchers did not see this effect on divergent thinking after Focused Attention meditation (=focusing on a particular thought or object.)

Setup of the study

40 individuals participated in this study, who had to meditate for 25 minutes before doing their thinking tasks. There were both experienced mediators and people who never meditated before. The study investigated the influences of different types of meditative techniques on the two main ingredients of creativity:

  • Divergent thinking Allows for many new ideas to be generated. It is measured using the so-called Alternate Uses Task method where participants are required to think up as many uses as possible for a particular object, such as a pen.
  • Convergent thinking Convergent thinking, on the other hand, is a process whereby one possible solution for a particular problem is generated. This is measured using the Remote Associates Task method, where three unrelated words are presented to the participants, words such as 'time', 'hair' and 'stretch'. The participants are then asked to identify the common link: in this case, 'long'.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Leiden University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lorenza S. Colzato, Ayca Szapora, Dominique Lippelt, Bernhard Hommel. Prior Meditation Practice Modulates Performance and Strategy Use in Convergent- and Divergent-Thinking Problems. Mindfulness, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s12671-014-0352-9

Cite This Page:

Leiden University. "Meditation makes you more creative, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141028082355.htm>.
Leiden University. (2014, October 28). Meditation makes you more creative, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141028082355.htm
Leiden University. "Meditation makes you more creative, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141028082355.htm (accessed August 24, 2016).