Mind(ful) Wandering & Creativity: New article

by | Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Illustration by Punya Mishra

We have covered a wide range of issues related to creativity, technology and learning in our almost decade-long series that we write for the journal TechTrends. Over the past few years we have conducted almost 30+ interviews with some of the top scholars in the field. Over the past few issues we have focused our attention to the relationship between mindfulness and creativity, particularly in educational contexts. Our first article set the stage for a deeper dive into this relationship, which the second was an interview with Dr. Viviana Capurso and her work in this area. For our third article we spoke with Dr. Jonathan Schooler, Distinguished Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Dr. Schooler directs the Memory Emotion Thought Awareness (META) Lab, which they study a wide range of issues and questions related to human cognition. His own research on explores topics that intersect philosophy and psychology, like how fluctuations in people’s awareness of their experience mediate mind-wandering and how exposing individuals to philosophical positions alters their behavior. He is also interested in the science of science (meta-science) including the replication crisis in the social sciences, understanding why effect sizes often decline over time, and how greater transparency in scientific reporting might address this issue.

As always we covered a lot of ground in our conversation (from mind-wandering to mindfulness; from meta-consciousness to living in a technology-mediated world, and most importantly on the positive and negative aspects of curiosity). In fact, my previous blog post “The darker side of curiosity” was partly prompted by our conversation. And the funny thing is that there were still so many things we did not have time to get into. The article based on our conversation is now published and a citation and and link to the article is given below.

Mehta, R., Henriksen, D., Richardson, C, Gruber, N. & Mishra, P, (2022). Creativity & the Mindful Wanderings of Dr. Jonathan Schooler. Tech Trends. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-022-00747-4

Incidentally I have been playing with some AI based image creation programs and thought that I may try and see what AI comes up with if given some verbal prompts. Below are 4 images generated by different freely available AI programs when prompted with words related to creativity and mindful wandering.

Illustrations created by various AI programs when given the prompt “Creative mindful wanderings”

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