6 Best #Tools For Creative Work, According To Science | Fast Company #creativity #ideas #productivity


I’d love to have a toolkit that promised me great, creative ideas every time I sat down to work. Obviously that’s not going to happen—creativity doesn’t come from tools. But luckily there are some tools that can improve our chances of working creatively. According to research, these six tools can help inspire your next big idea. READ MORE: The 6 Best Tools For Creative Work, According To Science | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

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MIT Claims to Have Found a “Language Universal” That Ties All #Languages Together | Ars Technica #cognition


Language takes an astonishing variety of forms across the world—to such a huge extent that a long-standing debate rages around the question of whether all languages have even a single property in common. Well, there’s a new candidate for the elusive title of “language universal” according to a paper in this week’s issue of PNAS. All languages, the authors say, self-organise in such a way that related concepts stay as close together as possible within a sentence, making it easier to piece together the overall meaning.

Language universals are a big deal because they shed light on heavy questions about human cognition. The most famous proponent of the idea of language universals is Noam Chomsky, who suggested a “universal grammar” that underlies all languages. Finding a property that occurs in every single language would suggest that some element of language is genetically predetermined and perhaps that there is specific brain architecture dedicated to language. READ MORE: MIT claims to have found a “language universal” that ties all languages together | Ars Technica.

Why #Coloring Could Be The New Alternative To #Meditation | HuffPost #coloringbooks #psychology #selfhelp #books


Currently, six of the top 20 selling books on Amazon are adult coloring books. The unlikely pastime for those of us who have successfully graduated from kindergarten has been gaining popularity of late, as an easy means to express oneself and de-stress along the way.

The activity not only provides a low-stress, low-stakes way to unlock your creative potential, it also unlocks memories of simpler, childhood times, when the biggest cause of anxiety was how to avoid your next nap. “I recommend it as a relaxation technique,” psychologist Antoni Martínez explained to the Huffington Post. “We can use it to enter into a more creative, freer state. I recommend it in a quiet environment, even with chill music. Let the color and the lines flow.” READ MORE:  Why Coloring Could Be The New Alternative To Meditation | Huffington Post.

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Et tu, Watson? IBM’s Supercomputer Can Critique Your #Writing | Engadget #tech #IBMWatson


It’s bad enough that robots are writing professionally (albeit badly), but now they’re criticizing, too? IBM has unveiled the Watson Tone Analyzer, the latest tool in its “cognitive computing” suite of cooking, health, shopping and other apps. Once you input a piece of text, the system will perform a “tone check” to analyze three different aspects of it: emotional, social and writing style. Each of those is divided into further categories — for instance, it can tell you if your writing style is confident or tentative, and whether the emotional tone is cheerful, angry or negative. From there, it can give you a breakdown of the overall tone and suggest new words to “fix” it. READ MORE: Et tu, Watson? IBM’s supercomputer can critique your writing | Engadget

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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence #emotionalintelligence #EQ #psychology #softskills


Volunteering in a public library and changing workplaces from the corporate world to academia and back again over the past five years has exposed me to different organizational cultures. These experiences have provided insight into the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ) in your leaders and peers and how workplace culture influences your emotions and behaviour. I am really intrigued by emotional intelligence theory and believe in the value of understanding its application in our personal and work lives (supported by research). We can improve the way we interact with our peers and respond to conflict. Below, I have provided links to insightful articles on this topic for your enjoyment and professional development. I will continue to add articles to this post as I come across them in the news.

For Individuals

For Leaders

Everything Science Knows Right Now About #StandingDesks | Co.Design #treadmilldesks #activedesks #business


If it wasn’t already clear through common sense, it’s become painfully clear through science that sitting all day is terrible for your health. What’s especially alarming about this evidence is that extra physical activity doesn’t seem to offset the costs of what researchers call “prolonged sedentary time.”

In response some people have turned to active desks—be it a standing workspace or even a treadmill desk—but the research on this recent trend has been too scattered to draw clear conclusions on its benefits (and potential drawbacks). At least until now. A trio of Canada-based researchers has analyzed the strongest 23 active desk studies to draw some conclusions on how standing and treadmill desks impact both physiological health and psychological performance. READ MORE: Everything Science Knows Right Now About Standing Desks | Co.Design | business + design.

This is Your Brain on #JaneAusten, and Researchers at Stanford are Taking Notes | Stanford News #books #reading #neuroscience #cognition


Researchers observe the brain patterns of literary PhD candidates while they’re reading a Jane Austen novel. The fMRI images suggest that literary reading provides “a truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.” READ MORE: This is your brain on Jane Austen, and researchers at Stanford are taking notes | Stanford News

A Toy Dinosaur Powered by IBM’s Watson Supercomputer | WIRED #AI #toys #IBMWatson @Kickstarter


Image Credit: CogniToy

DON COOLIDGE AND JP Benini are bringing cognitive smarts to the world of children’s toys. Coolidge and Benini just launched a Kickstarter for a toy dinosaur toy driven by IBM Watson, the machine learning service based on the company’s Jeopardy-playing cognitive system.

Developed under the aegis of a company called Elemental Path and a project called CogniToys, this tiny plastic dinosaur uses speech recognition techniques to carry on conversations with kids, and according to Coolidge and Benini, it even develops a kind of smart personality based on likes and dislikes listed by each child.

The toy is another example of online machine learning pushing even further into our everyday lives. This is made possible not only by an improvement in AI techniques, but also by the ability to readily deliver these techniques across the net. READ MORE: A Toy Dinosaur Powered by IBM’s Watson Supercomputer | WIRED.

What Emotion-Reading #Computers Are Learning About Us | Fast Company #emotionalintelligence


https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/rana_el_kaliouby_this_app_knows_how_you_feel_from_the_look_on_your_face.html
Rana el Kaliouby, a Cambridge- and MIT-trained scientist and leader in facial-recognition technology, is concerned about how computers are affecting the emotional lives of her two small children.

There is much research that suggests that emotional intelligence develops from social interactions, yet children are increasingly spending their days in front of computers, tablets, and smartphones. Today, children under the age of eight spend on average two full hours a day in front of screens. El Kaliouby is deeply concerned about what happens when children grow up around technology that does not express emotion and cannot read our emotion. Does that cause us, in turn, to stop expressing emotion?

The answer, according to recent research, is yes. A University of California-Los Angeles study last year found that children who had regular access to phones, televisions, and computers were significantly worse at reading human emotions than those who went five days without exposure to technology.

But El Kaliouby does not believe the solution lies in ridding the world of technology. Instead, she believes we should be working to make computers more emotionally intelligent.

READ MORE: What Emotion-Reading Computers Are Learning About Us | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Video Game Link to Psychiatric Disorders Suggested by Study | The Guardian #gaming #psychology


People who regularly play action video games could be at increased risk of developing neurological and psychiatric disorders, a study suggests.

The research, published in a Royal Society journal on Wednesday, found that people who played games such as Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto V and Tomb Raider were more likely to employ navigational strategies associated with decreased grey matter in the hippocampus part of the brain.

Decreased volume in the hippocampus has been associated with disorders such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

The lead study author, Prof Greg West, from the University of Montreal’s department of psychology, said the paper indicated that benefits of video games, such as improved attention and perception, highlighted in previous studies, could come at a price.

READ MORE: Video game link to psychiatric disorders suggested by study | Technology | The Guardian