Creativity & Enhanced Learning

In a study in Texas A&M University in 1982, Dr Thomas Taylor selected 40 well-matched subjects from 450 volunteers and split them in to 2 groups. Both groups underwent a series of 70 minute learning sessions using audiotapes.

One group (the control group) listened to the tapes while sitting on sofas in quiet darkened rooms.

The other group listened while floating in floatation tanks.

Taylor tested both groups on 3 levels of learning performance;

  1. basic memorisation
  2. application level (the ability to understand a concept and use it)
  3. synthesis thinking (the ability to put together several concepts and come up with a new idea or an original solution to a problem).

A static analysis of the results showed that on the first level, floaters did better than the control group. On the 2nd level, the gap between floaters and non-floaters widened. On the 3rd level, the superiority of the floating group was greatest of all.

Taylor also recorded the brainwave activity of both groups while learning. He recorded several ‘Eureka events’ – flashes of sudden insight or creative problem-solving. He noted that these tended to occur in the deep theta state.