This interdisciplinary course will address the human ability to find creative solutions to new problems, a capacity that has allowed us to overcome obstacles in problem solving that are insurmountable to other species. Creative problem solving is therefore viewed as a crucial cognitive component in enabling the rapid progression of human culture. The course will comprise lectures and discussions in the mornings. The afternoons will be filled with activities exercising creative thinking that include joint work on a sketch for a research proposal, artist workshops, and opportunities for students to present their own research.
Lectures and discussions will address 1) evolutionary and cognitive theories of scientific discovery, 2) psychological accounts of cognitive insight, 3) research on sleep and memory consolidation in creative problem solving, 4) the role of brain networks and social networks for creative problem solving, and 5) research on joint improvisation and other forms of social interactions that involve exploration of joint action spaces.
Activities will include a ‘sandpit workshop’ where small groups of students and faculty jointly develop sketches of research proposals addressing scientific problems that require creative solutions and present them to the whole group. Workshops guided by artists that are experienced in working with scientists will provide a practical introduction to improvisation theatre and visual arts. Finally, there will be opportunities for the participants to discuss their own research with faculty and fellow students (poster session and individual meetings).