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Hear the All Things Considered program for December 19, But with a mechanically produced, infinitely repeatable, world-class wave, surfing can become like any other sport. "It reminded me of ," Warshaw recalls. young teen-ager, the singer Robyn has been on the cutting edge of pop music. GALINSKY: I think, you know, that's really what made me think about space in a sort of how people construct their worlds and their interior environments. VEDANTAM: But during her studies, she happened to meet a The vision for the collective, Pato says, is something Yo-Yo Ma calls the edge effect.
And one day, one of the other brothers, not knowing it was there, accidentally ran a pitchfork through it, and that was the end of the secret guitar.
And same with my mother. She grew up on an Amish farm, and she always wanted a piano, and that was not allowed. One of her schoolteachers helped her cut out a cardboard keyboard and paint the keys.
And she brought that cardboard keyboard home into her bedroom, and would play the music that was only inside of her. And so this idea of music can be dangerous was sort of in the water in my family history. I feel like I stepped into a story - you know, as a songwriter - that was already in progress. Were you born on one of these Amish farms? When my father turned 21, my grandfather offered him the farm. It would have made him a wealthy man.
Two hundred pristine rolling acres.
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Which I wrote about in the song "Against the Grain. He turned it down. Singing Blue and black skies made the impression of you. Two hundred rolling acres unintelligible.
Well, I want to talk about the journey that the two of you have been on that brought you to this farm in Ohio that you love so much. And you went through a difficult time in your marriage, which you write about in many of your songs. Karin, I was struck by something you said once. We are fortunate we work together, but that is part of the problem.
What does that mean? Because musically, you two work together so well. We do work together well. I think what we had to learn was that our career path and our relationship were like two separate gardens. And we were very good at watering and tending to the career garden, and not so good about taking care of the relationship garden. And we had to learn how to do both. It's not for the faint of heart, this working together and living and being together.
It feels like there's less pain in this album than in your previous albums. I think this is a record about finding a place, finding a home. And I think we're still aware that, you know, loved ones are moving on. There's joy and sorrow on the record, but there is a sense of we're going to be OK. Singing Help me trace the scars on mountains, the sun that sets in a bloody fountain. Take me home and lay me down. Well, Karin, Linford, this has been such a pleasure.
Accuracy and availability may vary. Jackson's enthusiasm made Adam and his colleagues sit up. They realized they may have stumbled on something important.
Why would dating someone from another culture spur creativity?
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Why would casual friendships not work the same way? So we started thinking again about this idea of a deep - or the depth and the closeness of those intercultural connections might make a difference. They designed an experiment to test whether the finding was real. This time, they reached out only to students who had both dated someone from a different country and dated someone from their own country.
The students were then randomly split into two groups. In one condition, we'll ask them to recall their experience they had with their - dating someone from their own culture and just describe that experience. Now, in the other condition, we said, recall a time when you dated - about one of your relationships with someone from another culture.
What was that experience like? Afterwards, the researchers asked the students to reflect on how much they'd learned about their own and the other culture, and then they were given a test for creativity. If there was no connection between intercultural romance and creativity, asking the students to reflect on different kinds of encounters should have made no difference.
But that's not what the researchers found. We found that there was a boost in temporary creativity just by reflecting on the intercultural relationship. And that was really driven by the fact that people felt that they had learned more about another culture, and that sort of cultural learning then led - that reflection on that cultural learning led to increased creativity. Psychology research out of Tufts University has found something similar.
When you introduce racial diversity into a group, all the people in the group begin to broaden the scope of their thinking and to explore more options. Now, creativity can be difficult to measure, but scientists have devised ways of doing it. Typically, they analyze what they call divergent thinking and convergent thinking. And convergent creativity tasks are ones in which there's a single right answer.
And one of the most famous examples of a single right answer that we didn't actually use in this particular project but have used in many of our other studies is the Duncker candle problem. In the Duncker candle problem, you ask people to - you give them a candle, a box of tacks and a book of matches. And you tell them, affix the candle to a wall in such way that the candle, when lit, doesn't drip wax onto the wall, table or floor.
Adam says that when he tried this with a group of smart undergrads at Princeton, only a small percentage of the students solved the problem within 15 minutes. The reason is that the test requires you to think about familiar objects in a new way. A box of tacks can be a repository for tacks but can also be a stand. And the solution is you dump out all the tacks out of the box; you tack the box to the wall, and then you put the candle inside.
Divergent tasks don't ask for a single right answer. They require you to produce lots of different ideas. In our study, we asked people, at time one, when we first measured their creativity, to generate as many creative uses as they can for a brick. And then at time two, when they graduated from business school, we asked them to think about as many creative uses as they could for a box. And then you can code these uses for the number of uses they come up with. But you can also code them for the number of different categories they come up with.
So for a brick, someone might say, oh, it could be used as a piece of furniture. So that's one category.
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Or it could be used as a weapon; you could throw it at someone. Or it could be used as part of a house. Again, generating lots of good ideas is a sign of a creative brain.
In the study of business school students, Adam and his colleagues gave the volunteers one final task. It's called the Remote Associates Test. Where you give people three words, and then you ask them, basically, to find the one word that connects them. And one of the classic examples that people give is you're given these three words - manner, round and tennis. And you got to come up with the one word that connects all three of them. And in this case, the answer is table. You can have table manners.
You can have roundtables and You can have table tennis. What Adam and his colleagues found is that in every one of these tests, the group of volunteers randomly selected to reflect on their experience dating someone from another country outperformed those asked to reflect on their experience dating someone from their own country. They increased in their flexibility and novelty of their ideas. And basically, in our final data, what we did is we basically created a single composite creativity score, which really collapsed across all these, but the same effect actually emerges on each of the individual problems, which shows how robust and powerful the effect was.
The findings were intriguing. The researchers decided to go a step further. They wanted to know if the results would hold up in the real world. They were wondering how to do that when one day, Adam went to a presentation given by his colleague Dan Wang.
And he was presenting this great, amazing data set of everyone who had a J-1 visa to visit the U. And he was able to survey them. J-1 visas allow people to work in the United States for a defined period of time, usually between three months and two years.Brody Dalle: NPR Music Field Recordings
At any given time, there are aboutJ-1 visa holders. So that means that we have tons of people who have come to the U. After the talk, Adam went up to Dan and asked him if, by any chance, he had any data on cross-cultural contact and the depth of those connections. He said, I think I do. It turned out Dan had asked former J-1 visa holders this question. Please report the frequency of contact that you have with your American friends since you have returned to your home country.
The survey also asked the former visa holders what kind of work they'd been doing since returning home. Adam asked Dan to take a look at his data and see if there was a correlation between those who would maintained the closest contact with their American friends and Whether they became an entrepreneur when they got home and founded their own company and whether they had created new practices in their company when they got home.
Indeed, there was, Dan found. He said, oh, my God, the data are exactly as you would have predicted. And so that was really the icing on the cake of this paper.
You know, we already had this great data from laboratory-based, paper-and-pencil creativity measures, but now we have the core of our hypothesis, that the depth of intercultural relationships, the frequency with which they had contact, predicts these real-world, consequential creativity measures - the probability that they became an entrepreneur and started their own business and how much they had changed and transformed and innovated in their own companies.
This time, Adam and his colleagues did not get scooped. To be sure, there are limitations in all the examples we've discussed.
It's possible that business school students who date outside their ethnic group, or scientists who collaborate with diverse teams, or musicians who team up with performers from other traditions - all these people might just be risk takers. In other words, it's not the dating that makes you more creative, it's just having an open outlook in life. But Adams says if these are only correlations, there sure seem to be a lot of them. In one of his favorite projects, he looked at fashion lines presented by major fashion houses over 21 seasons.
Milan, Paris, London and New York. He found that there appeared to be a connection between creativity and the time that fashion creators had spent immersed in a different culture. And what we found was something really interesting, which is that the amount of time that the creative director had worked abroad predicted their entire fashion line creativity, but not the number of countries that they worked abroad. That didn't have near as much of an impact as the amount of time that they worked abroad.
All these examples have a common thread. The fashion designers look a lot like the students at business school who dated someone from another country. The students look a lot like the scientists who spend time collaborating with partners from different ethnicities. The musicians who work with someone from a different tradition have something in common with the entrepreneurs who make broad connections and spend time maintaining them.
What all these cross-cultural relationships have is depth. There's something about deeply understanding and learning about another culture that's transformative. We can get that from living abroad. We can get that from dating someone from another culture. We could even get it from traveling, but only if we really learned and understood and embraced and adapted to that other culture while we were traveling abroad.
And so the - I think the big scientific conclusion that is very robust is that it's about really, truly, deeply understanding another culture - is the key to enhancing your own creativity. Adam Galinsky and his wife Jen say they want their children to see the world in this expansive way.