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November 2021

The effects of approach and avoidance motor actions on the elements of creative insight

Author(s): Forster, J.

Journal/Book: J Personal Soc Psychol. 2000; 79: 750 First St NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, USA. Amer Psychological Assoc. 477-492.

Abstract: The authors propose that the nonaffective bodily feedback produced by arm flexion and extension informs individuals about the processing requirements of the situation, leading to the adoption of differential processing styles and thereby influencing creativity. Specifically, the authors predicted that arm flexion would elicit a heuristic processing strategy and bolster insight processes, whereas arm extension would elicit a systematic processing strategy and impair insight processes. To test these predictions, the authors assessed the effects of these motor actions on 3 central elements of creative insight: contextual set-breaking, restructuring, and mental search. As predicted, in 6 experiments, arm flexion, relative to arm extension, facilitated insight-related processes. In a 7th experiment, arm extension, relative to arm flexion, facilitated analytical reasoning, supporting a cognitive tuning interpretation of the findings.

Note: Article Friedman RS, Univ Maryland, Dept Psychol, College Pk,MD 20742 USA

Keyword(s): POSITIVE AFFECT; VALENCED INFORMATION; REGULATORY FOCUS; DECISION-MAKING; MOOD; EMOTION; DETERMINANTS; PERFORMANCE; PREVENTION; ATTITUDES


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