Rethinking Thought: Inside the Minds of Creative Scientists and Artists, Laura Otis



Title: Rethinking Thought: Inside the Minds of Creative Scientists and Artists

Author: Laura Otis

Typology: Essay / Study

Language: English

Year: 2015

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Colection: Explorations in Narrative  Psychology

ISBN: 978-0-19-21347-3

Synopsis: This book demonstrates how greatly the lived experience of thought varies from one person to another, especially with respect to visual mental images and verbal language. It examines differences in the conscious feel of thought, including planning, problem solving, reflecting, remembering, and devising new ideas. Presenting the results of interview-based research, it offers portraits of 29 creative minds, including those of novelist Salman Rushdie, engineer Temple Grandin, and U. S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. It takes readers into the minds of two award-winning painters, a flamenco dancer, a game designer, a cartoonist, a lawyer–novelist, a theoretical physicist, a creator of multiagent software, a translator, a professional singer and former Sister of St. Francis.

The book creates a dialogue between the insights of innovative thinkers and recent findings in neuroscience, cognitive science, linguistics, and philosophy. It offers a forum in which qualitative and quantitative research results engage each other as equal partners, each encouraging critical re-evaluations of the other. One striking finding that has emerged from this dialogue is that many creative people enter fields requiring skills that don’t come naturally. Instead, they choose professions that demand the hardest work and the greatest mental growth. Both laboratory studies and common experiences indicate how often people presume that others think as they do—sometimes with disastrous results.