Thinking Creatively

Jonah Lehrer’s piece on Groupthink skewers the efficacy of brainstorming while lauding the idea that water-cooler conversations that bring together folks from disparate backgrounds can lead to creative thinking.

He uses the example of linguist Noam Chomsky who was forced to chat with colleagues from different fields because his office was located in a building at MIT that fostered hallway conversations.

Makes sense.

We can get pretty insular in our thinking by surrounding ourselves with folks who agree with our points of view. Lehrer’s thesis in the 30 January issue of The New Yorker on Groupthink suggests that having folks question our arguments makes us brighter. Makes us think more critically.

A little tug and nudge at the edges of our beliefs get us to thinking. Deeply. Good.

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About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. She is enrolled with the Osage tribe.
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