Distraction as creativity weapon

I start distracting. Have a look at THE MOST DANGEROUS WRITING APP  a new online app that tries to make more efficient those people who perform better at the last second, those that deadline the adrenaline rush to finish more efficient and just at the last moment.

That's a Google auto translation. Sorry if there's any mistakes...

According to its creator, what you want is to help you stop waiting for that romantic moment of inspiration where you can do something and throw a “just write” that makes your hair stand on end.

The application works like this:

  1. Asks you what time are you going to take the challenge: 3, 5, 10, 20, 40 or 60 minutes if you want to do in “hardcore” mode.
  2. Write. If you stop writing for 1 second application begins to “beat” in red marking the edges so that if you get to be 5 seconds without typing anything, remove it. Delete all. To start again.
  3. And to prove it, nothing better than this post I’m writing “on the fly” with the app. I have given five minutes to finish and the truth is that the pressure imposed on you makes you raise your heart rate … and if I lose my post … For your peace of mind tell you whether you give space and then to reverse, the application It gives as valid. It lets you think about stress.

I’ll copy this text now, within four seconds remaining to you clear everything and still more calmly.

After copying the text, nothing more reaching five seconds to spare, so I finished my experience …

the most dangerous app captura

Returning to the subject, I will try to connect this app and its purpose with just the opposite (perhaps the inspiration for the app): when the moments of creativity arise from an unforeseen impact cross. Or what is the same, when looking for a solution to a problem you do not find until you connect with other environment that makes you open the frame of reference. This mode of operation of the brain usually have highly creative people who have always and totally open mind.

With this pattern of behavior that psychologists call as “leaky attention” (You can find more info on this reference  “Leaky Attention and Being More Creative”  it is possible that many students of primary and secondary’d just diagnosed as ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However it is something different.

Have “Leaky attention” or distractions has to do with that when a person is focused on a particular task, other information (seemingly irrelevant for this task) is “latent” in his consciousness.

There are studies claiming that this “skill” (let me call it that) possess babies, while looking to keep it is more complicated in adults.

And there are others, like this Zabelina Darya, which concludes with interesting results:

Creativity has been putatively linked to distinct forms of attention, but which aspects of creativity and which components of attention remains unclear. Two experiments examined how divergent thinking and creative achievement relate to visual attention. In both experiments, participants identified target letters (S or H) within hierarchical stimuli (global letters made of local letters), after being cued to either the local or global level. In Experiment 1, participants identified the targets more quickly following valid cues (80 % of trials) than following invalid cues. However, this smaller validity effect was associated with higher divergent thinking, suggesting that divergent thinking was related to quicker overcoming of invalid cues, and thus to flexible attention. Creative achievement was unrelated to the validity effect. Experiment 2 examined whether divergent thinking (or creative achievement) is related to “leaky attention,” so that when cued to one level of a stimulus, some information is still processed, or leaks in, from the non-cued level. In this case, the cued stimulus level always contained a target, and the non-cued level was congruent, neutral, or incongruent with the target. Divergent thinking did not relate to stimulus congruency. In contrast, high creative achievement was related to quicker responses to the congruent than to the incongruent stimuli, suggesting that real-world creative achievement is indeed associated with leaky attention, whereas standard laboratory tests of divergent thinking are not. Together, these results elucidate distinct patterns of attention for different measures of creativity. Specifically, creative achievers may have leaky attention, as suggested by previous literature, whereas divergent thinkers have selective yet flexible attention.

It is curious that one of the conclusions is that the more creative are the challenges, the greater the tendency to get distracted by what was happening around.

What does this leave us? A two conclusions:

  1. At that stage of divergence in creative processes, have “leaky attention” is a competitive advantage. And if you do not, it may be a good idea to expose yourself to the more noise the better (go outside, listening to conversations of others in a bar, on the subway, listening to the radio, music, play anything, partying , browse all daily newspapers and all possible magazines waiting room of your dentist, stroll through Flickr, twitter, Facebook … and any other activity that will generate disparate external inputs (the Japanese, in its extreme version call Chindogu ))
  2. If you have to focus in a task that requires your full attention and have “leaky attention” you have to find tools to help you get away from everything else (see my collection on them), such as this of which I spoke to beginning of the post: “the most dangerous writing app