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We Read It

writers-block

Block Quotes: Advice From Great Writers About Kicking Writer’s Block

A catalog of cures for writers in crisis.

Findings

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Making Art Boosts Seniors’ Psychological Resilience

German researchers report positive changes in the brains of recent retirees who learned how to create visual art.

The Worst Week

funny-teapot

What Is the Worst Thing You’ve Ever Made?

Jen Doll speaks to a bunch of different creative types about what they’ve all learned from being bad at what they now do well.

Findings

woody-allen-effect

For Some, Worry Inspires Creativity

In a new study, neurotic people did better on a creativity task after thinking about a worrisome incident.

Findings

womb-artists

Are Artists Created in the (Testosterone-Rich) Womb?

New research suggests artists may begin their journey toward creative achievement before they are born.

Findings

steve-jobs-reflection

Literally Touching Greatness Can Increase Your Creativity

New research finds one type of “magical thinking”—the belief that ability can be transferred through touch—can actually work for some people.

Findings

music-education-notes

High School Music Classes Remain Popular, but Hispanics Lag Behind

New research finds that, contrary to fears, the No Child Left Behind act had little impact on enrollment in music courses.

Findings

creativity-concept

Leisure-Time Creative Endeavors Make for Better Employees

New research finds a link between off-hours creative activity and several measures of job performance.

This Is Your Brain

creative-mind

The Myth of the Artist’s Creative Routine

For all the interest in the habits of highly creative people, there’s not much to learn from Don DeLillo’s manual typewriter or Maya Angelou’s mid-day showers.

Quick Studies

Figure skater Fontana from Italy performs during the "2010 All That Skate Summer" ice show in Goyang

Can You Learn to Judge Creativity?

A new study suggests that, with training, amateurs can judge the level of creativity of artwork much like experts would. But is expert opinion always correct?

Findings

fingers-crossed

Dishonesty Can Foster Creativity

New research finds people who cheat subsequently perform better on tests measuring creative thinking.

The Big Screen

lego-movie

There’s Nothing Subversive or Anti-Business About ‘The Lego Movie’

More than just a set of plastic bricks, Lego has positioned itself as the perfect toy brand by working to inspire nostalgia, creativity, and wonder. And the hottest film of the year to-date is a celebration of that.

Findings

creativity-illo

Not-So-Tortured Artists: Creativity Breeds Happiness

New research finds college students are happier than usual when they are engaging in creative activities.

A Conversation With

belt-buckles

How Do You Make a Living, Creative Person?

Welcome to a new series in which we talk to creative people—artists, artisans, musicians, authors, entertainers—about making a living. Email us if you’d like to participate. First up: Jeff Deegan.

You Don't Know America

us-map

Which of the U.S.’s 3 Distinct Psychological Regions Best Suits You?

An analysis of state-level data confirms some things you already know—basically everyone in the Midwest is friendly and conventional—but also suggests ways to use our psychological characteristics to spur economic development.

Burgh Diaspora

boeing-manu

Urban Minor Leagues of Globalization

Manufacturing used to be concentrated in a few great American cities, but the landscape is changing fast.

 

st-louis

Creative Urban Spaces Don’t Promote Innovation

No, cities are powered by the exploitation of ambition.

 

cezanna-painting

When Do Great Artists Hit Peak Creativity?

New research suggests it occurs just a bit before they hit the two-thirds mark of their lives.

Culture Essays

robot-artist-1

Rise of the Robot Artist

Everyone knows computers are good at processing information and humans are good at creativity. What if it’s the other way around?

 

creativity-illo-2

What Kills Creativity?

Many American writers fear that standardized testing could be destroying our children. They might be right.

 

angry-boss-illustration

Abuse Inspires Creativity, You Moron!

New research from Korea finds a link between workplace creativity and having an abusive supervisor.

 

narcissism-illo

Narcissism Breeds Belief in One’s Own Creativity

British researchers report narcissists are more likely than most to engage in creative activities.

 

messy-desk

Can a Messy Desk Make You More Creative?

New research finds working in a disorderly environment can lead to greater creativity—but that clutter isn’t without its downsides.

 

brain

The Muse: True Inspiration or Total Nonsense?

Your muse might actually be real, but it doesn’t descend from the heavens. Instead, it’s sitting inside your skull.

 

repressed-art

Turning Repressed Emotions Into Great Art

A new study finds repressed feelings can spur creativity—for some. It depends on your religious and cultural upbringing.

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Standing Up for My Group by Kicking Yours

Members of a minority ethnic group are less likely to express support for gay equality if they believe their own group suffers from discrimination.

How Old Brains Learn New Tricks

A new study shows that the neural plasticity needed for learning doesn't vanish as we age—it just moves.

Ethnic Diversity Deflates Market Bubbles

But it's not in the rainbow and sing-along way you'd hope for. We just don't trust outsiders' judgments.

Online Brain Exercises Are Probably Useless

Even under the guidance of a specialist trainer, computer-based brain exercises have only modest benefits, a new analysis shows.

To Find Suspicious Travelers, Try Talking to Them

Brief, directed conversations are more effective at identifying liars than fancy behavioral analysis, experiment suggests.

The Big One

One company, Comcast, will control up to 40 percent of Internet service coverage in the U.S., and 19 of the top 20 cable markets, if a proposed merger with Time Warner Cable is approved by regulators. November/December 2014

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