dr. Catrinel Haught Tromp, Psychology department, Rider University, Lawrenceville New Jersey.
Do constraints inhibit or facilitate creative communication?
Catrinel Haught Tromp is the guest speaker at this ACLC seminar, the title and abstract of this lecture are now available.
Too many choices can paralyze creative thinking, as writers’ block attests. During the creative process, repeated early searches often lead to dead ends. The mantra “when a door closes, another one opens” is compelling, so the tendency is to look for more such “doors”. Yet, cursory, superficial explorations of many initial possibilities typically yield predictable associations and clichés. Constraints, despite their negative connotation, act by closing doors, by focusing the creative process and giving it a direction, which, with further exploration, is more likely to inculcate a creative outcome. Supporting evidence includes Psychology experiments in creative language production and accounts from successful writers, such as Dr. Seuss, who wrote the bestseller Green Eggs and Ham using only 50 words in response to a highly limiting challenge from his publisher. Constraints narrow down the exploratory space and increase the depth of exploration, and, in so doing, they can facilitate creativity.
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