How Thinking About Others Improves Our Creativity

towerResearch suggests we’re more creative when we’re others-focused.

Imagine you’re locked in a tower. Better yet, imagine someone else is locked in a tower.

Besides perhaps savoring the moment of schadenfreude that comes with locking someone in an imaginary tower, such visualization also yields some insights into how to our own creativity works. It turns out, we’re more creative when we’re solving the problems of others rather than our own.

Professors Evan Polman and Kyle Emich asked 137 undergraduates the following riddle:

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David Burkus

David Burkus

David Burkus is the author of The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas. For free resources from David, check out

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