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Tuesday, 18 April 2017 16:02

Matter of perception: How creative people perceive the world

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Melbourne - Why are creative people so clever? How do they come up with innovations and inventions? It is a special something that goes beyond IQ and relates, according to a new study, to how some people perceive the world.

There are different core elements that help to make-up 'personality'. These are explained by psychologists as the "five factor model." The five factors are defined as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, (sometimes the acronym 'OCEAN' is used as a mnemonic). Focusing on one of these - openness to experience - researchers have put forward a new theory to explain creativity.

Openness to experience is characterized by flexible and inclusive cognition. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty; it includes an appreciation of art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience. Within this context, creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and different is formed: either something intangible (like a scientific theory,) or a physical object (such as a painting).

In the new research, Melbourne School of Psychological Science scientists investigated whether "openness to experience" extends to basic visual perception, such as whether open people combine information more flexibly and thus see the world slightly differently to others. To explore this the researchers used a method called binocular rivalry. Binocular rivalry is a test of visual perception in which perception alternates between different images presented to each eye.

The study, as summarized by New Scientist magazine, involved 123 university students being asked to complete a binocular rivalry test. Here the students simultaneously saw a red image with one eye and a green image with the other eye for two minutes. With most people the brain can only perceive one image at a time, and it was the case that most participants reported seeing the image flip between red and green. However, some of the students saw the two images fused into a patchwork of red and green (which the scientists describe as “mixed percept”.) Later it was found that the higher the participants scored for openness on a personality questionnaire (and were hence more 'creative' people), the more they experienced this mixed perception.

Through this the researchers concluded that their study showed that openness is linked to differences in low-level visual perceptual experience: that is, those who are more creative perceive the world slightly differently.

The new study is published in the Journal of Research in Personality, in a research study called "Seeing it both ways: Openness to experience and binocular rivalry suppression."

Source : digitaljournal.com

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