That Incandescent Lightbulb Over Your Head Really Does Give You Bright Ideas


Landrew is wrong. It DOES happen.

Michelle Bachmann is going to love this: the glowing incandescent lightbulb over your head really does make you have bright ideas. Livescience reports on a study by social psychologist Michael Slepian at Tufts University where students sitting under a bare 25 Watt bulb solved spatial, math and verbal problems faster than those sitting under fluorescent lights.But before we have a reintroduction of Michele's Lightbulb Freedom of Choice Act, we should point out that not all incandescent bulbs work this way; only exposed ones that look like old fashioned lightbulbs like the ones floating over heads in cartoons. Slepian explains:

"Our findings are not a result of the level or type of lighting, but are a function of exposure to the symbol of insight, the light bulb," Slepian explained.

The important takeaway is that your environment and surroundings make a difference.

"What I find most surprising about these results is that something as elusive as the process of insight can be influenced by a subtle feature of our environment," Slepian said. "Much research has discussed insight as if it's something entirely internal to the person, that it's something that happens within you, and what we found in several studies is that something external to you can influence insight."

The right environment makes us better thinkers. More in Livescience

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