Creative people seem to have found a way to use their free time productively during the pandemic. A recent study by the University of Arizona found that creative people are more likely to engage in original associations of ideas when they are alone with themselves.
Experiments conducted by the researchers showed that creative people feel less bored when they are alone in a room with themselves. This becomes especially noticeable during periods of unstructured time, which became common during the Covid-19 pandemic. During these moments, creative people become immersed in their own thoughts and find themselves less prone to boredom.
Researchers wanted to find out what goes on in the minds of creative people, especially when nothing restricts their thoughts. They conducted a series of experiments to explore this question. As a result, they found that creative people showed more associative thinking, linking their thoughts to each other.
History knows many examples of famous scientists, artists and philosophers who liked to be alone with their thoughts and generated their best ideas in their free time. However, in today’s society, where everyone is busy and constantly connected to digital technology, time to be alone with your thoughts without distractions is becoming rare.
Researchers at the University of Arizona have proposed a new approach to assessing creativity to overcome the limitations of previous studies. They conducted two experiments in which participants could voice their thoughts in real time. One of the experiments involved 81 people who were asked to sit in a room alone with themselves for 10 minutes without access to digital devices. Researchers assessed participants’ creativity using a divergent thinking test, which measures the ability to think “outside the box.”
The results showed that participants with high scores on the divergent thinking test exhibited more associative thinking. They related their thoughts to each other and used phrases like “this reminds me” or “by the way, what about.” It also turned out that creative people were more engaged in their thoughts and felt less bored even for 10 minutes.
In the second experiment, the researchers expanded their study to cover a longer period of time, the Covid-19 pandemic. During this period, many people were forced to spend more time alone with their thoughts. The study showed that creative people found ways to relax and use that time to generate new ideas.
Thus, creative people make the most of their free time to engage in original associations of ideas. They find pleasure in being alone with their thoughts and often generate their best ideas in such moments. In today’s society, where everyone is constantly busy and distracted by digital technology, time for our own reflection can be a valuable resource.