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Insightfully Drunk: The Thinking Mechanism

April 06, 2012 | antonioortiz

From: The Thinking Mechanism

Something to keep in mind as we go into the weekend:

A brand-new study by scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago compared performance on insight puzzles between sober and drunk students. (They were aiming for real intoxication, giving students enough booze to achieve a blood alcohol level of 0.075.) Once the students achieved “peak intoxication” the scientists gave them a battery of word problems – they’re known as remote associate tests – that are often solved in a moment of insight. Here’s a sample problem. Your task is to find the one additional word that goes with the following triad of words:

Cracker Union Rabbit

In this case, the answer is “jack.” According to the data, drunk students solved more of these word problems in less time. They also were much more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight. And the differences were dramatic: The alcohol made subjects nearly 30 percent more likely to find the unexpected solution.

Once again, the explanation for this effect returns us to the benefits of not being able to pay attention. The stupor of alcohol, like the haze of the early morning, makes it harder for us to ignore those unlikely thoughts and remote associations that are such important elements of the imagination. So the next time you are in need of insight, avoid caffeine and concentration. Don’t chain yourself to your desk. Instead, set the alarm a few minutes early and wallow in your groggy thoughts. And if that doesn’t work, chug a beer.

via Why Being Sleepy and Drunk Are Great for Creativity by Jonah Lehrer

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts written by Antonio Ortiz and published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients. 

Published by: antonioortiz in The Thinking Mechanism

Longreads: The Linked Mechanism

April 04, 2012 | antonioortiz

From: The Thinking Mechanism

We are big fans of Longreads. They collect the best long form articles from around the web and make it easy for you to find interesting things to read, something we sometimes do while eating our lunch. Here are some articles we are reading this week:

A mid-week treat of assorted links. 

Published by: antonioortiz in The Thinking Mechanism

Moaning and Mediums

April 02, 2012 | benchirlin

From: The Sketching Mechanism

This entire week is dedicated to today's inspiration: life after death. Whether Jesus' escaping death via resurrection or the Jews through some lamb's blood on their lintels, both Easter and Passover revolve around death and life. Such stories arise from the same inspiration as last week's theme apocalypse: legacy, on either the human or individual level for apocalypse and afterlife respectively. The idea that we could continue to exist postmortem, whether by phantasmal or other means, both appeals to and frightens us, making for some great creative fodder.

BansheeThe work of Sam Wolfe Connelly is extremely evocative of this astral plane. The sensitive light touch of his works combined with a wonderful pastel palette has a deep emotional, and ghostly, effect. Add to this the surreal quality of many of his works and we have a strong contender for this week's stills spotlight. The fact that he is merely a year older than myself and uses more or less the same materials, graphite and digital, further interests and motivates me. I especially love his series of portraits through crystals (NSFW), crystals appearing to be a prevalent theme in his work and an admirable one at that for all the difficulty in their proper realization.

Hitchers CoverHarvestRegardless of how the idea of the undead makes us feel, the implications associated are universal: darkness. Never has a ghost been seen by the light of day and even their other undead brethren prefer the darkness of night. The site for the new "Under the Psycamore" album I is a beautiful example of how stunning such darkness can be. I love the simple graphical layout of the single page promotional site. The use of the beige elements for angle and texture is striking and the simplicity of the design allows for intuitive adaptability to all screen sizes. The site has clear cut goals and excels in their execution. My only nitpick would be the wide variation in font type and size which varies between being a nice effect all the way down to obscuring the copy.

Under the Psyacmore | IBut we must finish how we started: with the most famous example of life after death. Say what you will about Jesus, his story is surely a fascinating one. The following animated short captures the essence of the Bible while adapting it to the modern day and making it quite "hip." The studio behind the piece, CRCR, are quite a talented group and their strangely marvelous work and graphic website deserve praise. Enjoy and have a great holiday.

The Sketching Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Mondays, containing the artistic musings of Mobile Designer/Developer Ben Chirlin during our Monday morning meeting at the NY Creative Bunker as well as his inspiring artistic finds of the week.

Published by: benchirlin in The Sketching Mechanism

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