Think Like a Child

Every now and then you come across an idea which is so trivial and makes perfect sense as it is groundbreaking and revolutionary. The idea behind a study done by Cognitive Neuroscientist Darya L. Zabelina and Professor of Psychology Michael D. Robinson is a great example.

In their study, they manipulated a childlike mindset by asking the participants to imagine school was canceled for the day and to describe in writing what would they do and how would they feel. For some of the participants (all adults, by the way) a short phrase was added at the beginning of the instructions: “You are seven years old.”

After doing this exercises, both groups went through some creativity tests. The group that was manipulated to think like seven years old scored far better than the control group. In other words, making the participants think like a child, made them more creative!

The impact of this study is profound. Not only does it prove that thinking like a child promotes creativity. It shows we can easily manipulate ourselves to think like children and as a result to increase our creativity. If we play more, laugh more, and let ourselves imagine more, we are most likely to be more creative. As the researchers conclude in their article:

“A very different approach to facilitating innovative thinking is likely required. Our results suggest that interventions facilitating a focus on fun and spontaneity are likely to be effective.”

If you would like to be more creative, take regular breaks to play and imagine. Try to experience the world like a child. Look around you with eyes wide open, taking nothing for granted. Explore your surroundings to discover new things. In time you will rediscover your inner child and with it, your creativity.

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