New Study Could Show Why Kids Are Creative Geniuses
Most young children show signs of creative genius, but over time those numbers drop significantly.
A new study on how young children learn could help parents teach their children and help answer the question of nature versus nurture. In 1968, a study conducted by George Land and Beth Jarman found that 98% of children were considered creative geniuses by NASA standards.
But as this group grew older, that number dropped off rapidly; at age 10, it fell to 30 percent, by age 15 it dropped to 12 percent, and by adulthood, it was just two percent. Today, researchers at Birkbeck University in London are using brainwave scanning caps to look inside the brains of kids while they complete various tasks.
Artie Wu, an expert on parenting, relationships, and finding your bliss, weighs in on the subject.
“Children come out, they see the world as it is —they don’t know — there’s no filter between brain and mouth,” Wu said. “But this is the genius view, they see the world as it is, not as it should be. The aperture has not tightened down, they just see everything as it is, and they say it. We typically need to do some bit of trimming, training, and educating for them to be able to get along in life. (But) the way we do the enforcement is through shaming.”
Part of NASA’s creative genius test determined whether a subject showed ‘divergent thinking,’ also known as ‘thinking outside the box.’ Children have these ideas often, but as we get older we become afraid of expressing them out of fear of being wrong.
“So the difference between shame and guilt is; guilt is something transactionally that’s off, and we can fix that; shame is there’s something intrinsically wrong with me. Especially to a seven-year-old, they don’t know the difference between guilt and shame, so they feel like they are loved less,” Wu said. “Because of the shaming mechanism we use, what ends up being instilled in the kid is that my love is conditional — there’s something I can actually do which will cause me to lose love.“
What would the opposite look like? What if we were encouraged as children instead of shamed? Wu points to the story of young Pablo Picasso.
“Even as a boy, he was apparently so good that his father came to Picasso and the father gave him his own brushes and said ‘You are so good, I cannot paint anymore, I’m done and you are now the painter of the family,’” Wu said. “And Picasso was, I don’t know, seven or eleven, and I’m like ‘talk about self-esteem!”
“So the eternal question is: was there something in Picasso, that 98 percent genius that was preserved by that kind of upbringing and environment? But then the implication is ‘[W]hat are you saying, Artie, are you saying we’re all Picassos and we’ve just lost this expression of our inner Picasso-ness because of this?’
“And I’m like ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m saying!’”
The researchers at Birkbeck University hope to use the same technology in the future to study adults and may prove we have a genius hidden inside all of us.
New Tool May Help Solve the Teen Mental Health Crisis
As rates of mental health issues in teens reach epidemic proportions, a new intervention that reframes the way they view stressors shows great promise in improving both psychological and physiological health.
Given the exponentially growing mental health crisis among teens, the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with several other medical organizations, recently declared a national emergency in children’s mental health.
While many societal factors are being implicated, researchers at the University of Rochester recently conducted a study that focused on the ordinary, day-to-day stresses that teens face, such as how they’re perceived by others.
Psychologist Jeremy Jamieson, who headed up the study, told the University of Rochester News Center, “For adolescents, social hierarchy, social comparisons, and peer evaluations have always been important, but now it’s there all the time… people are receiving a daily stream of likes, dislikes, and comments via social media, which makes for a constant state of social evaluation. it’s one of the most damaging things we’ve seen for adolescents.”
While these “social-evaluative stressors” can lead directly to depression and anxiety, it is how teens deal with them, experts say, that determines the psychological outcome.
While conventional thinking equates stress with something “bad,” Jamieson says, “stress is a normal and even defining feature of adolescence… for those of us who study processes and psychophysiology, stress is just any demand for change — it’s neither good nor bad.”