Movement helps us think creatively. This idea is over 2000 years old – and already known to ancient Greek philosophers. However, what is the link between movement and cognition from a scientific point of view? What happens in the brain when we walk? Are people who rarely move less creative? “Our research shows that it’s not movement itself that helps us think more flexibly,” said neuroscientist Dr Barbara Handel of Julius-Maximilians-Universitat Wurzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany.
She and her doctoral student Supriya Murali conducted experiments that were described in detail in a recent publication in the journal Psychological Research. According to Handel, the freedom to make self-determined movements allowed humans to think more flexibly.
As a result, even small movements while seated can have the same positive effects on creative thinking. However, the researcher draws no concrete suggestion of movement from her work: “The important thing is the freedom to move around without external constraints. It’s important, she said, that movement isn’t suppressed or forced into regular patterns. “Unfortunately, this happens when people focus on a small screen, for example,” explains the JMU researcher.
The increased use of mobile phones and similar devices – also in the field of education at the time of the Corona pandemic – could therefore have a negative effect on cognitive processes such as creativity. How do people perceive their environment? What effect do sensory stimuli have on the peripheral nervous system and the brain? What influence do body movements have on the perception of sensory input? Scholars like Barbara Handel have been interested in these questions for many reasons.
In the long term, their findings could contribute to a better understanding of diseases that affect body movement as well as cognitive processes. (ANI)
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