Project Mind Survey of Israeli Ph.D. Scientists Favors a New Standard of Creativity in Science

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A recent survey on creativity, sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Project Mind Foundation and conducted by TNS Teleseker, revealed that a majority of the Israeli scientists polled expressed a willingness to use special methods that could "put them into a creative state and keep them in this state for as long as desired."

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If it were in my power, I would want to increase this ratio

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A recent survey on creativity, sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Project Mind Foundation and conducted by TNS Teleseker, revealed that a majority of the Israeli scientists polled expressed a willingness to use special methods that could "put them into a creative state and keep them in this state for as long as desired." Surprisingly, even when the issue of risk was raised, one fifth of the total sample expressed a medium or high level of willingness to try these methods. More than a third of the sample expressed even a "strong willingness" to use such methods.

The survey, conducted via the Internet, solicited the opinions of over 3,300 Israeli Ph.D. scientists on the subject of creativity. A total of 237 full interviews were conducted.

According to David S. Devor, Chairman of the Project Mind Foundation, the survey was designed to help the organization prepare scientists to generate unusually intense efforts of contemplation. “Such contemplation can lead to enduring states of creative vision, the innovative potential of which cannot be overestimated,” Devor stressed. “Hopefully much, if not all, research now being carried out in the laboratory will someday be done entirely in the mind and vastly accelerate scientific breakthroughs.

“Today,” he continued, “scientific advance is associated with very brief ‘Eureka sparks’ of creative intuition, while the potential for higher, more enduring states of creativity is almost universally ignored. This could be explained, at least in part, as owing to the stigma of obsession and the significant psychological and/or physiological risks associated with contemplation of unprecedented intensity. Yet risk is a common to most pioneering. It is thus most significant to the world scientific community that our survey results indicated such a high level of willingness to undertake risks for the sake of reaching enduring states of creativity,” Devor declared.

“We did find that those scientists who expressed very strong willingness to use ‘methods to put them into a creative state and keep them in this state, for as long as they wished,’ gave higher grades in most of the survey’s parameters: (i.e., they are more independent in their work, more idealistic, and they attach more importance to creativity and spiritually than others),” noted Devor. Worthy of note is that economic and other incentives were not considered sufficiently significant to make scientists accept these risks. Methods to reduce psychological and/or physiological risks, as opposed to economic incentives, were more effective in promoting the willingness to experiment with methods of entering a creative state. (42% gave a grade of 7- 10, indicating willingness to accept these risks). “Quite simply,” Devor concluded, “it seems that they believe that increased creativity can improve their work.”

A statistical regression was made in order to determine the parameters that most influence the intention of using methods to induce a state of creativity. Three parameters were found to be significantly influential:

The most influential parameter was, “To what extent did you feel that there was more to ‘perceive’ had you only had the opportunity to remain longer in the creative state?" Those who responded positively were those who expressed a greater willingness to try methods to put them in a creative state. The other two parameters that influenced the respondents’ willingness to use the methods to put them in a creative state were:

“If it were in my power, I would want to increase this ratio” (inspiration/perspiration ratio)

and

  • “I have a special method or technique (internal or external) for inducing creativity in myself.”

“Thanks to this survey, “ states Project Mind director David Devor, “It could be said that a small step has been made towards dramatically improving the standard of creativity in scientific research worldwide.”

For further information: David S. Devor: devor@usa.net

Complete survey results can be accessed at the following sites:

Survey Introduction Letter: http://www.projectmind.org/introletter.html
Survey: http://www.projectmind.org/survey.html
Analysis of Survey: http://www.projectmind.org/analysis.html
Voluntary Comments: http://www.projectmind.org/comments.html

For details on Project Mind: http://www.projectmind.org

David S. Devor
972-2-624-0280
devor @ usa.net

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