Ce matin dans le New York Times, recommandation pour un livre qui démontre l'utilité de l'art d'ouvrir les esprits pour l'amélioration de la créativité. L'exemple donné était extrêment convaincant:
“Mindfulness” by Ellen J. Langer
Is it possible to adjust a few words in a sentence and shift a person’s creative output? Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard University who has conducted an array of inventive experiments over three decades, has shown that the answer is yes; the key is to provide people with cues to help them enter into a mindful state, she writes. There are many ways to do this.
Langer uses the term mindfulness, which is commonly associated with meditation, to describe a state of being in which one becomes oriented in the present, open to new information, sensitive to context, aware of different perspectives and untrapped by old categories.
How do you help people enter this state? One way is to help people reject absolute categories in favor of open-ended frames. For example, in one experiment, Langer and her colleagues introduced a set of objects to two groups of subjects using slightly different words. For one group, they referred to standard categories: “This is a dog’s chew toy.” For another, they shifted to a “conditional” frame: “This could be a dog’s chew toy.”
During the experiment, the researchers asked subjects to fill out forms in pencil, but they intentionally made errors in their instructions. The question was, would the subjects think to use the dog’s chew toy – a piece of rubber — as an eraser? As it turned out, some did — but only subjects who had been “introduced to the toy conditionally,” observed Langer. Framing questions and instructions conditionally — or prompting people to be in the present in other ways — consistently leads to more creativity: musicians play with more energy and nuance; camp counselors provide better feedback to children; children think more critically in school.
Why is this important? Because mindlessness is a curse that runs through society. Indeed, many of our columns report on people who are trying to change systems that have become rigid and out of touch, like our systems for foster care, music education and scientific research. We experience mindlessness every day, from tiny offenses to unconscionable oversights. It may be an ice cream vendor automatically telling a 5-year-old she can have only one flavor in her child-size serving, or a doctor discharging a Medicare patient without checking that she knows how to take her medication properly. The question is how to get people to notice new things and remain alive to context. Langer shows how to cultivate these mental habits.
Elle gardait malgré toutes mes critiques sa manière insidieuse de poser des questions d'une façon indirecte pour laquelle elle avait utilisé depuis quelque temps un certain "parce que sans doute". N'osant pas me dire: "Est-ce que cette dame a un hôtel?" elle me disait, les yeux timidement levés comme ceux d'un bon chien, "Parce que sans doute cette dame a un hôtel particulier...", évitant l'interrogation.
Le Temps retrouvé
And she still, in spite of all my complaints, had her insidious manner of asking questions in an indirect way, the phrase she now used for this purpose being « because of course.» Not daring to say to me: “Has this lady her own house?” she would say, her eyes timidly raised like the eyes of a good dog: “Because of course this lady has her own house. . .,” avoiding a blatant interrogative not so much in order to be polite as in order not to seem too curious. (Time Regained)