Intriguing New Social Psychology Research On Creativity
“One of the many paradoxes of human creativity is that it seems to benefit from constraints. Although we imagine the imagination as requiring total freedom, the reality of the creative process is that it’s often entangled with strict conventions and formal requirements. Pop songs have choruses and refrains; symphonies have four movements; plays have five acts; painters still rely on the tropes of portraiture.
Perhaps the best example of this phenomenon is poetry. [...] Instead of composing free verse, poets frustrate themselves with structural constraints. Why? A new study led by Janina Marguc at the University of Amsterdam, and published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, provides an interesting answer. It turns out that the obstacles of form come with an unexpected psychological perk, allowing people to think in a more all-encompassing fashion. Jonah Lehrer of Wired Magazine explores the psychology of constraints.”