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Brainhack by Neil Pavitt

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32 Think Like a Child

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Pablo Picasso

We're always being told if we want to be creative we need to think like a child. Well now there's scientific proof to back it up.

In a study conducted at the North Dakota State University, they discovered that the secret of finding your inner child is not as previously thought – snips and snails and puppy dog tails for men or sugar and spice and all things nice for women. It's imagining yourself as a child.

For the study they took a group of college students and split them into two groups. They asked the first group to write a short essay: “Imagine school is cancelled for today. What would you do, think, and feel?” The second group were asked to write a similar essay, but with one difference to the question: “Imagine you are seven years old and school is cancelled for today. What would you do, think, and feel?”

After approximately five minutes of writing, each participant was asked to complete a version of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. What they found was the students who had imagined they were seven years old, showed significantly higher levels of originality in their thoughts.

Simply by imagining yourself as a free-thinking imaginative seven-year-old, it can make you more creative.

To be really open in our thinking, we need to be restricted.

In the North Dakota University study, ...

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