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article imageMeditation may make even first-time practitioners more creative

By Sravanth Verma     Oct 30, 2014 in Science
A new study has concluded that meditation can enhance creativity in individuals even when they have no prior experience of meditation techniques.
The study, titled "Prior Meditation Practice Modulates Performance and Strategy Use in Convergent- and Divergent-Thinking Problems" by cognitive psychologists Lorenza Colzato and Dominique Lippelt from Netherland's Leiden University, tested how various meditation techniques influences participants' performance in specific cognition and creativity-related tasks.
Previous research has also shown that enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills are some of the benefits of meditation. However, the current study also focused on how different meditation techniques enhanced different aspects that contribute to creativity.
The study involved 40 participants, both experienced and first-time meditators, who meditated for 25 minutes before working on two tests designed to check their performance in two factors of creativity i.e. divergent thinking and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking involves finding as many different solutions to a given problem, which is tested using the Alternate Uses Task method. Participants have to find as many uses to a particular object as possible.
Convergent thinking involves finding the best-possible or most-correct answer to a given problem. This is measured using the Remote Associates Task method, where a common theme is to be found between three unrelated words. Convergent thinking is what is required in most tests such as multiple-choice questions taken by students.
Participants were found to perform better in both kinds of tests after practicing different meditation techniques. Interestingly, the focused attention meditation technique, where people focus completely on a single object, tended to boost convergent thinking capability. The open monitoring technique, where participants experience every thought coming to mind, boosted divergent thinking scores irrespective of previous experience in meditation.
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