60-Second Mind

Boost Your Creativity with Eye Movement

Recent research published in the journal Brain and Cognition finds that people can boost the number and quality of their original ideas when they increase the interaction between the brain's right and left hemispheres. Christie Nicholson reports

The formula for creative thinking is pretty elusive, but scientists have a few evidence-based clues. While the brain’s right hemisphere gets most of the credit for thinking outside the box, evidence shows that a collaborative effort between the right and left hemispheres may bring the best results.

Scientists say that it is the fixed rules of the left hemisphere that keeps a logical check on the broad brainstorming of the right hemisphere. So you wind up with super creative, yet practical, ideas.

In fact, a study published this week in the journal Brain and Cognition shows that when you boost the level of communication between the right and left hemispheres your creativity increases.

Sixty-two subjects performed a creativity task, where they had to come up with as many alternate uses for common objects like, a paper clip, pencil, shoe, etc. as they could in one minute.

After this initial task researchers asked subjects to move their eyes to follow a target as it moved horizontally left to right for 30 seconds. This exercise is thought to increase the cross-talk between the hemispheres.

Then the subjects completed the creative task again. Results were surprising. Subjects came up with significantly more unique uses for the everyday items, than the control group who stared straight ahead.

So when brainstorming ideas for that new Thanksgiving dish or the name of your unborn son, maybe try bilateral eye movement which, in the words of science, increases your inter-hemispheric interaction, and in turn increases your options.

—Christie Nicholson

[Above is the original script. But a few changes may have been made during the recording of this audio podcast.]

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Special Universe

Get the latest Special Collector's edition

Secrets of the Universe: Past, Present, Future

Order Now >


Email this Article