Think Outside the Box: The Effects of Cognitive Training on Creative Problem Solving


Problem solving requires the use of higher mental functions, functions that can be improved with training. The current study examines the effects of meditation on creative problem solving. Participants were undergraduate students who were randomly assigned to meditate or rest. Next, Pp were asked to solve a problem: fishing out a small object from inside a box using one of four available tools. Two of the available tools were potentially useful, but the other two were intentionally designed to be useless (i.e., they were incapable of retrieving the object). There were no differences between meditators and non-meditators with respect to solution rates, tool switching behavior, or overall persistence. However, meditators spent more time with their first tool that they selected, and more time attempting to solve the task with the useful tools. Brief meditation training may promote certain cognitive strategies that are conducive to successful problem solving; implications are discussed.

Back to Table of Contents