Creativity and play

Does playfulness spur creativity?

Ethologist Sir Patrick Bateson of the University of Cambridge wants to know why playfulness is so connected to creativity in the realms of science, music, and business. Working with behavioral biologist Daniel Nettle, he asked over 1,500 people to rank their creativity and then provide up to ten potential uses for a jam jar or paperclip. Those who considered themselves the most playful were most likely to provide many uses for the items. “Play is an effective mechanism for encouraging creativity since creativity also involves breaking away from established patterns of thought and behavior,” Dr. Bateson writes.