You know how Joe Biden says “literally” a lot—like a ton, like literally a billion times a minute? At Singapore Management University, they make Joe look like an amateur. In order to determine how to help people think outside the box, they recruited a team of volunteers and had some of them sit inside a box and some outside. Literally. “The two environments were set up to be otherwise the same in every way,” the press release assured, except for, you know, the part about sitting inside a box. Then both groups took a creativity test, and who’d have thought it? The ones who hadn’t been crated up like victims of a mob hit did better. The researchers attributed the results to the power of the familiar metaphor: when you’re outside a real box your mind frees itself up. Further research may help determine if the availability of, say, light and air played a role too.
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