Anger Helps Creativity?


http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=anger-gives-you-a-creative-boost

Really?  Anger makes you think better?  Huh.  Not in my experience.  While this article asserts anger CAN give a very short-lived creativity advantage, all the caveats the writer uses make this assertion hold little more water than a paper cup.  Let’s break this down a bit and see what this looks like in plain English, shall we?

A) “Studies” suggest angry people are more likely to be creative.  CAVEAT: Not for long.  How long might this creative advantage last?  I read and reread this article and that information appears to have been omitted.

B) In these studies, anger was “associated with” a person’s ability to brainstorm “in an unstructured manner.”   First, what exactly does “associated with” actually mean?  Were the two directly linked?  Were they sometimes linked?  Was the link suggested?  Was this link something that appeared occasionally and researchers figured it was connected?  How would one go about even measuring such a thing?  Second, isn’t the whole idea of brainstorming to come up with spontaneous ideas or solutions?  How do you measure spontaneity?  How do you know if you’re thinking in a “structured or unstructured manner?”  Isn’t “structured thinking” by definition the opposite of brainstorming?  Because of my OCD behavior, I grabbed my handy-dandy dictionary that I keep in my bookshelf just for times like this.  “Structured” is defined as “definite pattern or organization.”  Great, structured..organized, patterned.  Got it.  The same Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a brainstorm as “a sudden inspiration or idea.”  Ok, my brain is hurting trying to figure out how you have an “organized impulse.”   Huh?  That’s like the idea of “dry rain” or an “honest politician.”

C) Anger may be beneficial in our daily lives.  CAVEAT: Not all the time for all people.  Or some of the time for some people and none of the time for other people.  I may as well get a fortune cookie with my Chinese food and play the “lucky numbers” in the daily lottery.

My favorite part:  “Anger is likely to be beneficial only in certain situations or for certain people.”

THIS is news?  I mean, really?

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4 Comments

  1. Anger is an interesting emotion to say the least. It is usually experienced by people who have no self control or as a transition from some invoked and sudden fear. If channeled, one can use anger to write a good rough draft with tons of thoughts while in a state of anger but intelligent people will keep the draft for a day or two, then look back at the points they want to express and then rewrite their draft into a fairly good final product. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many intelligent people around. Just look at our elected officials. Pro is the opposite of con, therefore progress is the opposite of congress.

    1. Very nice! The point that a creative “spurt” can be occasionally exploited at the onset of anger makes some sense. i would wonder, though, if that’s not an adrenaline surge as opposed to anger?

  2. Various emotions cause adrenaline surges. You see examples of this during disasters when some ordinary person suddenly lifts a heavy object off another person, hopefully not a politician.

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