Put Down the iPad, Lace Up the Hiking Boots
Have you been staring cow-eyed at a computer all morning? Fiddling with your iPhone in line at Starbucks? Checking Twitter and ESPN every four minutes on your tablet?
Good. Here’s a little quiz. What one word ties these three ideas together: water + tobacco + stove? How about widow + bite + monkey? Or, envy + golf + beans?
Psychologists call such wordplay the “remote associates test,” or RAT, and use it to study creativity and intuition. The idea is that it requires a nimble, open mind to find the connection between seemingly unrelated ideas—in this case pipe, spider, and green.
But not all minds think alike, or even like a think. New research suggests that stepping away from the shiny Apple product and into the woods can have a big impact on creativity and problem-solving. Little is known about the human brain on technology—less than even the brain on drugs—but many social psychologists fear that so much “screen time” is rewiring our neural circuitry, and not for the better.