Imagination is a sign of creativity

The creative aspect of pareidolia became known in the 19th century with the practice of 'klecksography' - the art of making images from inkblots.

Writer Victor Hugo experimented with folded papers and stains by holding his quill upside down to use the feather-end as a brush. Another practitioner of klecksography, German poet Justinus Andreas Christian Kerner, published Kleksographien (1890), a collection of inkblot art with accompanying short poems about the objects that can be noticed in the images.

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At first, pareidolia (seeing shapes in clouds and in other inanimate objects) was seen negatively rather than a sign of creativity. It was even considered to be a symptom of psychosis or dementia.

In 1895, French psychologist Alfred Binet - known for his work on IQ tests - suggested that inkblots could be used in psychological research to study differences in involuntary imagination. This idea was further developed, resulting in inkblots to investigate people's personality and assess their psychological state.

"Pareidolia"

A team of neuroscientists believes there might be a meaningful link between creativity and seeing faces in clouds.

The scientific term for seeing familiar objects in random images, abstract things, or patterns is 'pareidolia.' Pareidolia has been reported in sounds too.

In 2000, British psychologist Richard Gregory renewed the association between pareidolia and creativity. He suggested that a reversed version of the Rorschach test - the psychological test where subjects' perceptions of inkblots are recorded and analyzed - might reveal creativity principles.

Recent studies found an association between a greater fluency and originality of performance in standard creativity tests and greater fluency and originality of pareidolias. Participants with a stronger interest in arts and music produced more original pareidolic drawings. This suggests that creative processes are involved in producing pareidolias.

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Early History

The connection between genius and possible insanity was first documented in 1891 in the Italian physicians’ book The Man Of Genius.

In 1869, this was taken up by the cousin of Charles Darwin, Francis Galton in his work Hereditary Genius.

The components of creativity

Two of the primary components of creativity include:

  1. Originality: The idea should be something new that is not simply an extension of something else that already exists.
  2. Functionality: The idea needs to actually work or possess some degree of usefulness.

Fractal patterns have always been apparent in nature, from seeds and pinecones to ferns. Now they are becoming more evident in man-made objects.

Studies revealed that children as young as three consistently preferred common fractal patterns. Prior to these studies, exposure to fractal patterns was expected to vary across a person's lifespan due to environmental and developmental patterns.

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