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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Oct;79(4):477-92.

The effects of approach and avoidance motor actions on the elements of creative insight.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Columbia University. ronsf@wam.umd.edu

Abstract

The authors propose that the nonaffective bodily feedback produced by arm flexion and extension informs individuals about the processing requirements of the situation, leading to the adoption of differential processing styles and thereby influencing creativity. Specifically, the authors predicted that arm flexion would elicit a heuristic processing strategy and bolster insight processes, whereas arm extension would elicit a systematic processing strategy and impair insight processes. To test these predictions, the authors assessed the effects of these motor actions on 3 central elements of creative insight: contextual set-breaking, restructuring, and mental search. As predicted, in 6 experiments, arm flexion, relative to arm extension, facilitated insight-related processes. In a 7th experiment, arm extension, relative to arm flexion, facilitated analytical reasoning, supporting a cognitive tuning interpretation of the findings.

PMID:
11045734
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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