In some ways, it seems that highly creative individuals can see things that others can't. Rather than looking at a work of art and seeing paint on canvas, for example, they see an untold story or an encoded manifesto. But a new study published in the Journal of Personality Research confirms that this isn't just in your head—highly creative people actually do see the world differently than everyone else.
What's more, creativity isn't just some immeasurable, amorphous construct—the researchers found that the Big Five personality trait "openness to experience" is closely linked to creativity and the ability to perceive things in a different way. To arrive at this conclusion, the team first asked 123 participants to take a test measuring the Big Five personality traits, which include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience, reports The Science of Us.
From there, they took a vision test called the "binocular rivalry" test, in which each eye takes in a different image at the same time. In this particular test, each eye was looking at a different colored dot, one red and one blue. The experiment went one of two ways: Either the participant saw one color at a time, or the two dots morphed together into one purplish dot.
As it turns out, the participants who saw the morphed dot also measured high for "openness to experience" on their personality tests—a trait that's also been associated with insight and imagination. "Their brains are able to flexibly engage with less conventional solutions," said lead study author Anna Antinori to New Scientist. "We believe this is the first empirical evidence that they have different visual experiences to the average individual."
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