Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pers Soc Psychol. 2000 Oct;79(4):477-92.

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

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Columbia University.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for American Psychological Association
    Loading ...
    Support Center