“Did you know that when you see the same thing over and over again, your brain uses less and less energy? Your mind already knows what it’s seeing, so it doesn’t make the effort to process the event again. Just putting yourself in new situations can make you see things differently and jump-start your creativity.”
According to Berns, the tendency of the brain is to take shortcuts through categorization. “Categories are death to imagination… Often the harder one tries to think differently, the more rigid the categories become. There is a better way, a path that jolts the brain out of preconceived notions of what it is seeing: bombard the brain with new experiences. Only then will it be forced out of efficiency mode and reconfigure it neural networks… The surest way to evoke the imagination is to confront the perceptual system with people, places and things it hasn’t seen before.”
“It typically takes a novel stimulus – either a new piece of information or getting out of the environment in which an individual has become comfortable – to jolt attentional systems awake and reconfigure both perception and imagination. The more radical and novel the change, the greater the likelihood of new insights being generated.”
Iconoclast, by Gregory Berns
Dr. Gregory Berns is a heavyweight: he’s a neuroscientist, a psychiatrist, and the Distinguished Chair of Neuroeconomics at Emory University. His research has been profiled in the New York Times, Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal. His new book, Iconoclast, was published by Harvard Business School Press.
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