Dim lighting sparks creativity
Want to encourage innovative thinking? Try lowering the lights. “Darkness increases freedom from constraints, which in turn promotes creativity,” according to German research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
In a series of experiments, 114 University of Stuttgart students solved creative problems in different lighting. Those in dimmer environments solved significantly more problems and said they felt less inhibited.
Even more intriguing, researchers found that just the mental image of dimmer lighting – by taking five minutes to describe being in the dark – improves creative performance.
Source: Pacific Standard: The Science of Society
Jog your memory
It’s well understood that exercise can trigger changes in the brain that improve thinking and mood. Dartmouth College research suggests that exercising before a test can also improve memory in most people.
The best way to boost your brain through exercise, says New York Times health writer Gretchen Reynolds, is not to run marathons or play high-impact sports. It’s simply to move. “Humans,” she says, “are born to stroll.”
“One of the biggest misconceptions is that exercise has to be hard,” Reynolds explains. “If you walk, your body registers that as motion, and you get all sorts of physiological changes that result in better health. Gardening counts as exercise.”
The writing on the wall
What if the key to success is… failure?
The brain is a “failure engine,” says Internet entrepreneur Jeff Stibel. “We are making far more failures than successes. But over time, we learn. That’s how we go from infants to babies to children to adults.”
What’s important about failure is remembering how it happened, says Stibel, who created a “Failure Wall” at his Dun & Bradstreet Credibility office. Employees write their failures on the wall for everyone to see. Some of the goof-ups are embarrassing, and some have cost the company money.
Besides serving as prevention against repeating the same mistakes, Stibel says, the confessions show that few failures are really as bad as people think. Getting it out in the open allows staff to collectively draw the lesson, deal with stress, and move on to better things.
On the prowl for a good job?
Searching for jobs and braving interviews can feel like a series of bad blind dates if you don’t know what you want out of an employer. To find a good fit, you need to first find your purpose. Ask yourself these questions:
• What job would I be excited to share with others?
• What gets me out of bed in the morning?
• If money weren’t an issue, what would I do with my life?
• What do I do best?
• What am I most curious about?
Source: “Why You Can’t Find a Job You Love,” LouisEfron.com
New data on community college student success
The average community college graduation rate jumped from 21 to 38 percent in 2014, according to the Department of Education. The increase is due to a change in the way the department tracks students, lengthening the time frame considered “normal” for completion. Many community college students take longer because they attend part-time.
A separate study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that 73 percent of community college students who transferred to public universities completed their degrees. This is far higher than the 63 percent completion rate for students who started at four-year schools.