Broken windows in psychology

by Russ Roberts on April 20, 2010

in Myths and Fallacies, Travel

Turns out that psychologists can have their own version of the broken window fallacy:

The dark clouds of volcanic ash that have closed airports and stranded travelers for days on end may have a silver lining, suggests an expert on human creativity from Washington University in St. Louis.

Like it or note, stranded travelers around the globe are suddenly finding themselves with a lot of unscheduled time on their hands, and idle time is a key ingredient to becoming more creative in your personal and professional lives, says R. Keith Sawyer, PhD, an associate professor of education and of psychology, both in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

Idle time allows people to think of their problems in new ways,” says Sawyer, author of Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation, a seminal overview of the history of creativity and of research into traits that highly creative people all share.

My only explanation for story is that Professor Sawyer has never been on a flight that was delayed or canceled.

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