Creative thinking. The importance of imagination. Features, characteristics and activities.
The very phrase "creative thinking" gives rise to associations connected with something mysterious and new. How can we define creative thinking? How to improve and develop creative thinking skills? This kind of mental activity is associated with a special brain function - imagination.
Imagination is not part of any of the mental functions (memory, perception, attention). It unites them and becomes a transitional form between all structures of holistic intelligence. What is actually the definition of imagination? What techniques and exercises can we use to develop it? And what benefits can we get?
Generating reality in images is the physical ability of the human brain only. Its peculiarities are that it has a connection with organic, semantic and mental components of thinking and unites them. It is still unknown where the neural structures of the brain responsible for its appearance are located. Therefore, in general, the word “imagination” justifies its mystery and phenomenality, it is the essence of the creative principle. With its help, artistic and cultural masterpieces are created: literature, painting, sculpture. All these achievements are realized by mankind due to this phenomenon.
In the imagination there are hidden opportunities that create unlimited the processes of knowledge in our world. The reflection of reality in the mind with the help of imagination is essential both for the intelligence and for the psyche:
- a person with the help of imagination plans his further actions and can mentally imagine his behavior, think over the preliminary result of his actions;
- due to imagination, a person can be transported in time - into the past or the future, randomly evoke long-gone events from memory, relive these feelings, extracting material for creativity from them.
- in the imagination tasks are solved when the immediate real action in practice is unavailable or is not completely clear; with its help the missing details of the information ca be refined.
Types of imagination and their description
Images come from a variety of backgrounds. Unlike perception, it may contain elements that have no reality. Fictional objects and events are called fantasy. And desires - a dream.
Imagination can be:
1. Active, and causes specific images in the mind with the help of the will. In this case, the image does not always correspond to the exact description of the object, it can be an individual idea of something.
2. Images in passive imagination arise independently of a person’s willpower, they appear spontaneously in your mind.
3. With the help of productive imagination, a person seeks to create a new object of reality using this one.
4. Reproductive thinking is the process of restoring reality in pieces, as it is. Virtually no changes are introduced into this process, thus this kind of imagination resembles the perception or extraction of memories from memory.
The main material for the imagination is the surrounding reality. Without its elements, which are fixed by visual memory and perception, it is impossible to create something new.
Therefore, in any fantasy story there are always fragments of the real world (already seen by a man earlier). But a creative person just passes reality through himself and recreates it again
The created fantasy or idea also reflects part of the author’s own identity. Reality is made into bizarre and supernatural forms, where the emotional world is revealed. Before creating their work, the author-creator tries to fix his idea on paper. He gets into the game of imagination and the creative process captures it completely. Part of the mind is separated from its own "I", time ceases to exist or flow, as usual. The active imagination is like that.
Passive imagination is rarely involved in the creative process. It is deprived of volitional efforts. Its images in mind are rational. An example of passive imagination can be the works of Kafka. The writer often used his own dark dreams to create his works. But even the passive imagination at the beginning of the creative process requires a volitional effort, and then, as the structure of images unfolds, for example, the writer is so immersed in them that they come to mind spontaneously.
Do not confuse this kind of imagination with hallucinations. More often hallucinations are a symptom of a mental illness that is associated with impaired chemical composition in the brain. Unlike images, hallucinations do not belong to subjective thinking and are not associated with their “I.” They are delusional and uncontrollable, projected outwardly and visually perceptible, like other real objects.
Functions of the imagination
Imagination plays an important role in the regulation of the psyche:
1. The problems of emotional stress associated with the expectation of a situation, are partly removed by the ideas about this situation. Long-termed wishes are satisfied.
2. Its other function is connected with regulation of other cognitive abilities - perception, memory, attention, speech. Formed associative images associated with the search for the desired object in the environment, direct human attention to objects that correspond to them.
3. Reproduction of the past situation in the images makes the search for speech means in the conversation faster and more spontaneous.
4. The next function of imagination allows a person to plan his actions for the future, to represent his goal and plan for its execution, the grasp of intentions and means in general.
5. A figurative representation of the future frightening situation, partly prepares a person for it psychologically.
6. Positive images can be used in psychotherapeutic practice for stress relief or as self-hypnosis (auto-training).
Psychological characteristics of creative thinking and psychological types
Creative abilities largely depend on the individual characteristics of memory, attention, perception. All these functions of the intelligence depend on the type of organization of the psyche itself.
Some psychologists identify two types of thinking - specifically-figurative and verbal-logical.
The first is characterized by the perception of the world in specific images. Such people most tend to creativity. Most often these are artists, poets, writers. It is associated with the dominance of the right brain, which is also called the "emotional brain."
People with the second type of thinking work with abstract concepts, symbols (mathematical, verbal) more successfully. So, this type belongs to the left hemisphere - logical.
It is natural that the personality of the author also participates in the creative process. Based on this fact, psychologists have developed many psychological tests that determine the personality, desires and emotions. Rorschach inkblot test, Luscher color text are quite popular.
A separate item psychologists distinguish is autistic thinking. It is primarily associated with such a disease as autism. However, autistic elements that have been supplanted by social norms can be found in the psyche of any person. Autistic elements are directly related to the fanciness of fantasies, similar to those we see in dreams. For example, in a dream it may be that the train is not on rails, but on the grass through the forest. For people with this type of thinking, any fantasy has the dreamy nature of desire, reflecting the author’s intent and his desired goal.
The famous psychologist C. Jung once long ago proposed another division of personality types:
1. the intuitive type, which has an irrational component (emotions) and the dominance of the right hemisphere of the brain. The intuitive personality type is characterized by the spontaneity of the behavior of thoughts, ideological commitment. It enjoys anticipation of the answer as a motivating state.
2. the mental type of personality, in which a person is guided by stable logical connections. In some cases - specifically tangible. The solution of the problem is achieved by using their sequential modeling. This type of thinking is accompanied by experimental verification of the theory, proof in practice.
Peculiarities of creative thinking and its process
It should be noted that the peculiarities of creative thinking can be found in any of the types above. The ability to create abstractions, to collect all the images into one is considered to be the most common for their development. In abstractions, the subject reflects all multivariate usages. The reality in them is revealed in all possible ways.
Psychologists ask themselves the question: “What are the peculiarities of creative thinking?” And the following features are distinguished:
1. Originality, the desire to create something new, that previously did not exist. The created item or idea must be unique. As a rule, the creative mind does not make "alien" decisions, it is always looking for something of its own, different from the rest.
2. Semantic flexibility. An attempt to apply a different point of view to an object. Examine the object from all sides, taking into account all its values and principles. Identify its potential, which until now has been hidden.
3. Shaped flexibility. Adaptability of perception. The ability to change the vision of the object. See its sides that can make its application unique.
4. Spontaneous flexibility. The ability to switch from one thought to another. Generate a variety of information. Spontaneously come up with ideas in different situations unrelated to them.
Additionally, heuristics become the characteristic of creative thinking. The heuristic method of solving problems does not imply any conventional method. This is a pattern break or its transformation. It is necessary to go beyond the generally accepted framework in order to come up with a new situation that solves the problem one. The search for a solution is carried out, as a rule, without complete information about its solution and does not have a clear algorithm of actions. Such tasks are solved with the use of intuition, anticipation of the result, with a sense of inner illumination (insights).
How does the solution of this kind of tasks that require a creative approach happen? First, all available information on the problem is collected. Then there is a study with the subsequent extension of theories, reflection. More often, the first attempts to solve a problem are based on linear logic and rational explanations. But they do not give the desired answer. This is followed by an incubation period when information is pushed into the subconscious. It takes time so that after some break in the intensive work of the brain, the desired answer comes to mind. Sometimes you need to switch thoughts to another activity.
On Wikium you can find a lot of assignments for any age (children, student, adults), so come and enhance your creative thinking!