Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Idea


Creativity can be considered one of the key competencies for the twenty-first century. It provides us with the capacity to deal with the opportunities and challenges that are part of our complex and fast-changing world. The question as to what facilitates creative cognition-the ability to come up with creative ideas, problem solutions and products-is as old as the human sciences, and various means to enhance creative cognition have been studied. Despite earlier scientific studies demonstrating a beneficial effect of music on cognition, the effect of music listening on creative cognition has remained largely unexplored. The current study experimentally tests whether listening to specific types of music (four classical music excerpts systematically varying on valance and arousal), as compared to a silence control condition, facilitates divergent and convergent creativity. Creativity was higher for participants who listened to ‘happy music’ (i.e., classical music high on arousal and positive mood) while performing the divergent creativity task, than for participants who performed the task in silence. No effect of music was found for convergent creativity. In addition to the scientific contribution, the current findings may have important practical implications. Music listening can be easily integrated into daily life and may provide an innovative means to facilitate creative cognition in an efficient way in various scientific, educational and organizational settings when creative thinking is needed.

Concepts: Cognition, Science, Educational psychology, Idea, Thought, Problem solving, Creativity, Convergent and divergent production


We contrasted the predictive power of three measures of semantic richness-number of features (NFs), contextual dispersion (CD), and a novel measure of number of semantic neighbors (NSN)-for a large set of concrete and abstract concepts on lexical decision and naming tasks. NSN (but not NF) facilitated processing for abstract concepts, while NF (but not NSN) facilitated processing for the most concrete concepts, consistent with claims that linguistic information is more relevant for abstract concepts in early processing. Additionally, converging evidence from two datasets suggests that when NSN and CD are controlled for, the features that most facilitate processing are those associated with a concept’s physical characteristics and real-world contexts. These results suggest that rich linguistic contexts (many semantic neighbors) facilitate early activation of abstract concepts, whereas concrete concepts benefit more from rich physical contexts (many associated objects and locations).

Concepts: Ontology, Semantics, Idea, Concept, Object, Abstraction, Semiotics, Cognitive linguistics


I defend a model of the musically extended mind. I consider how acts of “musicking” grant access to novel emotional experiences otherwise inaccessible. First, I discuss the idea of “musical affordances” and specify both what musical affordances are and how they invite different forms of entrainment. Next, I argue that musical affordances - via soliciting different forms of entrainment - enhance the functionality of various endogenous, emotion-granting regulative processes, drawing novel experiences out of us with an expanded complexity and phenomenal character. I argue that music therefore ought to be thought of as part of the vehicle needed to realize these emotional experiences. I appeal to different sources of empirical work to develop this idea.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Mind, Idea, Concepts in metaphysics, Thought, Acts of the Apostles, Musical theatre


In 11 studies, we found that participants typically did not enjoy spending 6 to 15 minutes in a room by themselves with nothing to do but think, that they enjoyed doing mundane external activities much more, and that many preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves instead of being left alone with their thoughts. Most people seem to prefer to be doing something rather than nothing, even if that something is negative.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Cognitive science, Mind, Idea, Thought, Preference, Consumer theory


One of the deficits observed in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is impaired imaginative play. One form of imaginative play common in many typically developing (TD) children is having an imaginary companion (IC). The occurrence of ICs has not been investigated extensively in children with ASD. We examined differences in parent report of IC between TD and ASD populations in 215 (111 with ASD) gender-matched children aged between 2 and 8 years. Findings indicate that significantly fewer children with ASD created ICs, although there were many between-group similarities in IC forms and functions. Results are discussed in terms of qualitative differences in play, social attributions, and how children with ASD conceptualize their ICs' minds.

Concepts: Cognition, Autism, Pervasive developmental disorder, Idea, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, PDD-NOS, Imagination


Four experiments demonstrate that walking boosts creative ideation in real time and shortly after. In Experiment 1, while seated and then when walking on a treadmill, adults completed Guilford’s alternate uses (GAU) test of creative divergent thinking and the compound remote associates (CRA) test of convergent thinking. Walking increased 81% of participants' creativity on the GAU, but only increased 23% of participants' scores for the CRA. In Experiment 2, participants completed the GAU when seated and then walking, when walking and then seated, or when seated twice. Again, walking led to higher GAU scores. Moreover, when seated after walking, participants exhibited a residual creative boost. Experiment 3 generalized the prior effects to outdoor walking. Experiment 4 tested the effect of walking on creative analogy generation. Participants sat inside, walked on a treadmill inside, walked outside, or were rolled outside in a wheelchair. Walking outside produced the most novel and highest quality analogies. The effects of outdoor stimulation and walking were separable. Walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Idea, Problem solving, All rights reserved, Analogy, Walking, Creativity, Copyright, Convergent and divergent production


The popular belief that creativity is associated with madness has increasingly become the focus of research for many psychologists and psychiatrists. However, despite being prime examples of creative thinking, comedy and humour have been largely neglected.

Concepts: Cognition, Idea, Bipolar disorder, Psychiatry, Mood disorder, Creativity, Innovation, Creative class


Although the development of critical thinking and the development of creativity are major areas in nursing programme, little has been explored about learners' perspectives towards these two concepts, especially in Chinese contexts.

Concepts: Critical thinking, Cognition, Educational psychology, Idea, Thought, Logic, Reasoning


OBJECTIVE: The male refractory period (MRP) continues to be a topic of discussion and debate within the field of sexual medicine. To date explanations rely on central descending (efferent) influences involving specific neurotransmitter systems. Herein we explore the issue of the male refractory period, identifying problems with current explanations, specifying the parameters of an adequate model, and suggesting possible mechanisms mediating this phenomenon. METHODS: We review the literature regarding existing explanations for the MRP and look to other systems of physiological regulation that might provide a model for the conceptualization of the MRP. RESULTS: Our approach differs from traditional explanations in that it emphasizes the possible roles of various peripheral, rather than central, feedback (afferent) systems that affect peripheral autonomic functioning and response. Yet our approach is consistent with other peripheral regulatory feedback systems controlling autonomic response related to such processes as heart rate, respiration, and gut motility. CONCLUSION: Although direct empirical research supporting our approach is lacking, sufficient evidence exists to support the idea that such processes are not only possible but likely with respect to the male refractory period. We suggest several lines of research that might provide empirical support for this approach.

Concepts: Physiology, Avicenna, Neuroscience, Ontology, Idea, Empirical research, Peripheral nervous system, Refractory period


A unified general theory of human concept learning based on the idea that humans detect invariance patterns in categorical stimuli as a necessary precursor to concept formation is proposed and tested. In GIST (generalized invariance structure theory) invariants are detected via a perturbation mechanism of dimension suppression referred to as dimensional binding. Structural information acquired by this process is stored as a compound memory trace termed an ideotype. Ideotypes inform the subsystems that are responsible for learnability judgments, rule formation, and other types of concept representations. We show that GIST is more general (e.g., it works on continuous, semi-continuous, and binary stimuli) and makes much more accurate predictions than the leading models of concept learning difficulty, such as those based on a complexity reduction principle (e.g., number of mental models, structural invariance, algebraic complexity, and minimal description length) and those based on selective attention and similarity (GCM, ALCOVE, and SUSTAIN). GIST unifies these two key aspects of concept learning and categorization. Empirical evidence from three experiments corroborates the predictions made by the theory and its core model which we propose as a candidate law of human conceptual behavior.

Concepts: Psychology, Science, Empiricism, Idea, Thought, Concept, Categorization, Concepts