Science briefs: Take a walk to get out of creative slump

  • Updated: May 10, 2014 - 2:00 PM

Walk off that mental block

If you find yourself in a creative slump, Take a walk.

People generate more creative ideas when they walk than when they sit, said research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition. “Our study shows everybody’s creativity improved when they were walking compared to themselves when they were sitting,” said Marily Oppezzo, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University. “It’s so cool that you can just go out, take a walk, and make your creativity better.” She said walkers were more talkative than sitters, had more thoughts — and had a higher density of creative thoughts than sitters.”

Perhaps walking increases arousal in the brain, said Jonathan Schooler, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Oppezzo thinks it is possible that walking interferes with the brain’s ability to filter thoughts. “We really don’t know,” she said.

The Amazing Spider (No Man needed)

A spider discovered in the Moroccan Sahara can do powerful, acrobatic flips through the air.

Like a gymnast, it runs for a short time, then stretches out its front legs, catapulting into the air and returning to touch the ground with its hind legs.

The move doubles its speed, to 6.6 feet per second from 3.3. But since it uses so much energy, it is a last resort, called on only to escape predators. “It is a costly move,” said Peter Jäger, a taxonomist at the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. “If it performs this five to 10 times within one day, then it dies.” (Watch the maneuver at nytimes.com/sciencetake.)

The spider lives in a tubelike structure it weaves in the sand, staying hidden under a sandy lid and emerging at night to feed. The spider remained undiscovered by outsiders until now. As Jäger said, “Some secrets of nature are hidden although they are really close to us.” news services

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
 
Close