LEARNING AND CREATIVITY

LEARNING AND CREATIVITY

Isolation and Creativity

Many studies have shown that the reduction of sensory input can lead to creative illumination, special insights, and revelations. There are many historical examples of artists or scientists achieving creative insights during moments of inward focus while sitting in front of a fire or walking on a beach. In fact, one of the essential elements of any creative endeavor is the concentration acquired through some sort of restriction of sensory stimulation.

Theta Waves and Creativity

Researchers have observed that great discoveries can arise from hypnagogic images seen during theta brainwave states. There are many stories about moments of inspiration and creativity that occur when the thinker is on the verge of falling asleep or waking up. Sleepiness, physical relaxation, vivid images that appear unexpectedly are frequently mentioned as markers of the theta state. Floating can’t transform all of us into geniuses instantly, but this ability to put ourselves into a theta state suggests that we all have access to this valuable tool for promoting creativity.

Visualization and Creativity

There are definite practical advantages to the visualization that occurs during profound states of relaxation. Many studies have demonstrated that visual imagery is associated with the ability to remember things. The stronger the mental image pictured, the less effort is needed to keep the subject in memory, whether it be an idea, and event, or something else.

People with memory superpowers are able to perform their feats through mental visualization. With words we are only able to understand things in a linear way, just a little at a time, while with mental images we can assimilate an entire scene, event, or complex relationship. Visualization is also a fundamental part of creativity: to see things that have not yet been invented, or to visualize events before they have taken place. We can truly invent the future, just as one might conceptualize an artwork or a new machine. History is full of stories of creative geniuses that have had sudden insights in the form of visions or mental images.

Professor Thomas Taylor of Texas A&M University recently conducted a fascinating study on the effects of floating on learning and thinking, showing that in the group subjected to the floating experience there was a significantly higher production of theta brainwaves, which are associated with strong mental imagery. The floatation tank is the ideal environment for visualization, as it guarantees a deep level of relaxation that leads the brain to generate an unparalleled amount of rhythmic theta brainwaves, producing vivid and realistic hypnagogic images.

Throughout history, all of the major visualization methods devised have emphasized that a profound state of relaxation is essential for the visualization to be successful. In the floatation tank, a level of deep relaxation and vivid mental imagery occurs spontaneously and without effort.