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Chemistry LibreTexts

Creativity

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    4.07 Creativity: Thinking outside of the box

    Mental Set

    Think About It

    You are hosting a Super Bowl party. You have put out chips and dip and all types of finger food for your guests to munch on. At the end of your party, you are cleaning up and storing the opened chip bag in your kitchen pantry. You go to close this bag by rolling it down and it unrolls. You again try to roll it down, and you get the same result. So, you decide to fold the bag and guess what? Yes, it unfolds. So, you quickly roll it, secure it next to a box of cereal, and close the pantry. A few days later, you go to eat some chips with your lunch and the chips are stale. You throw the stale chips in the garbage and luckily, you have an unopened bag waiting for you. After you reach in and take a few, you again attempt to close the bag, unsuccessfully. You are feeling a little frustrated, as you know your chips are going to be stale in a few days. A couple of days later, you are in the store and see a "chip clip" and you ask yourself, “Why didn’t I think to invent that?!”< /p>

    You did not think of that because of your mental set-the tendency to use the same old solution over and over again even when it does not work. Inventions are discovered when someone breaks their mental set. This is similar to the saying "think outside of the box." When we think outside of the box, we are trying to think of original ideas that are not thought of by others.