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Study Explores the Cost of Creativity

Study Explores the Cost of Creativity

04/25/13

THURSDAY, April 25 (HealthDay News) -- Intense focus can help creative people achieve success, but it may undermine their capacity for flexible thinking, new research suggests.

The Northwestern University study included 74 college students with extremely high or low scores on a questionnaire about their achievements in creative fields such as writing, music, cooking and science.

Each participant was given a series of 128 challenges in which they had one second to accurately identify either the details or the large picture. In these challenges, the students had to focus on the details before quickly shifting their attention to see the bigger picture, and vice versa.

After accounting for differences in intelligence and reaction speed, the researchers found that students with high levels of creative achievement made more mistakes (9 percent of the challenges) than less creative students (2 percent).

The study was published April 25 in the journal Frontiers of Psychology.

Some experts have suggested that creativity partly depends on a person's ability to continuously switch attention between the details and bigger picture of a given task. But this study suggests that certain creatively successful people may focus so much on one aspect that they have difficulty switching to another.

More information

Zero To Three explains how creativity helps children learn.

Health News Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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