Friday, August 04, 2006

Thesis

Have you ever noticed that you can rearrange the letters in "thesis" to spell the word "shites"? That's Scottish for shit or something. Quite the coincidence. Quite.

Anyway, I'm finally done writing my thesis. Here is a picture of a vampire, because it came up when I searched Google Images for "thesis." Maybe somebody out there did their thesis on vampires, which would make me quite jealous, because my thesis is actually not about vampires.

I might as well tell you guys what it is about. Bascially, I studied the relationships between three things: Creativity, Intelligence, and Intuition.

When you hear highly creative people, such as novelists and physicists, talk about the source of their creativity, they often speak of intuition. Their ideas seem to come out of nowhere. They reach their conclusions with little or no conscious, deliberate effort - which is the conception of intuition that I adopted. Past empirical research (though very little had been done) backed this up by finding a relationship between creativity and intuition.

We also know, however, that intelligence plays some role in creativity. Going back to highly creative people, they talk about exploring and refining their ideas after intuitively generating them. This requires conscious, deliberate effort, and the ability to solve problems, make good choices, and consciously manipulate information. Things that highly intelligent people tend to be good at.

Intuition_razor-thumb
So I figure that intuition generates potentially creative ideas, and intelligence manipulates them into truly creative ideas. If you measure someone's level of intuition, and their level of intelligence, you should be able to predict their level of creativity with some accuracy. This is not an entirely novel hypothesis, but as far as I can tell, it had never been tested scientifically before.

So what did I find? Well, not so much what I expected. There was some support for the idea above, but not as much as I would have hoped for. However, what I did find is that you can predict someone's intelligence from their creativity and intuition. Nobody had really thought of that before. Going back in the literature, though, it makes some amount of sense; people who are flexible and able to evaluate the appropriateness of ideas (i.e. creative), as well as able to quickly come to conclusions without slow conscious deliberation (i.e. intuitive) should do well on IQ tests.

This relationship between creativity, intelligence, and intuition, though not exactly what I expected, is pretty neat. Perhaps a practical application that you, dear readers, can put to use is this: Don't be afraid to be different, and don't be afraid to rely on your gut feelings. At least to a certain extent, being both creative and intuitive can be the best way to make intelligent decisions.

I am simplifying things here; intuition, especially, is a tricky concept that needs more room to fully explore. A full description of the research would take, oh, about 100 pages containing 25 000 words. But there ya go...that's what's been occupying my life for the last 2 years or so. In two weeks I do my oral defense (hahahahahah "oral"), then become a MASTER OF SCIENCE. Muahahahahahahhahahah


18 comments:

Timmy said...

I have a hunch that you like the oral, or giving thereof.

I don't believe in coincidence.

Shora said...

This post made my brain hurt in a very big wa... ooh look! Something shiny!

Congrats on the completion. Will you soon be updating your blog profile to add initials after your name?

The Stevo in H-Town said...

"Being "ahead of your time" iz no better than being "behind"...The object is to be "timely"..

S. Bono..US House of Representatives, Former Mayor, Singer-Songwriter, Subject of Cher's "oral" and Bad Skier..

Tai said...

I'm kind of hoping you have a tall, decaying tower on a mountain top with which to do the majority of your experiments.
One that attracts lots of lightening strikes and storms and so on.

It would be rather fitting.

Oh...didn't Einstein say 'imagination (creativity/intuition)was more imortant than knowledge'?

Phronk said...

Indy: Yes, I love licking women's vaginas, if that's what you're getting at.

Shora: Nah, that'd be kinda pretentious. Like people with PhDs who insist they be called "doctor" in non-academic settings. Barf.

Sonny: I don't get it...you're dead, but I keep hearing you on the radio with that band U2. Are you perhaps a vampire?

Tai: Well I'm on the top floor of a building that leaks, so it's sort of a decaying tower. :)

Einstein did indeed say that...the quote's actually in my email signature. He also said "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." Smart guy.

The Stevo in H-Town said...

Indy: Yes, I love licking women's vaginas, if that's what you're getting at.

I agree, phronko...ANYBODY that thinks it ain't better to "give than receive" in cases of "love-makin'" or even "fuckin'", azz far az dat goes...ain't gotta clue...

sirbarrett said...

I agree that intuition, creativity and intelligence must be correlated although I'm not sure it translates into high IQ scores. The reason I say that is because while IQ tests test your ability to problem-solve, I've also heard that they are somewhat influenced by culture. It's hard to understand the analogies of "a house is to a car what a cow is.." unless you're brought up in the culture (and english is your first language). However, I think EQ is something entirely different: Emotional Intelligence. This gets at what you are saying about intuition -feeling things out, trying things multiple ways until you find a solution. That's why Einstein was such a genius. He had such an open mind and could attack a problem from so many different angles. Children are also naturally intelligent, I think, until they get indoctrinated and close their minds. Apparently those "child-proof" lids on dangerous prescription drugs are sometimes ineffective because children will try twisting in ex amount of ways until they figure out how to open it. They are also infinitely curious, whereas an adult, if they didn't simply know by rote how safety lids work, they would have a tough time figuring them out.

R2K said...

great film : )

Ubersehen said...

I agree, phronko...ANYBODY that thinks it ain't better to "give than receive" in cases of "love-makin'" or even "fuckin'", azz far az dat goes...ain't gotta clue...

There are many wonderful reasons, selfish and altruistic, to "give". Frankly, if your lady-friend is sufficiently pleased by said "giving", it tends to result in the converse "receiving" being much more enthused. Unless you already received... or the giving and receiving is happening at the same time, fusing it into some kind of crazy "give-ceiving"... or... well, the options are many and delightful, but I didn't need to tell anyone that. Unless they didn't know. Of course they may not have wanted to know, but then I'd say they were missing out. Are you missing out? Hey, has anyone seen Brick? That scene with the guy and the knife all running and stuff was awesome. And I just saw that I'm on the sidebar. Yes! I feel honoured. Congrats on your thesis completion, Phronk.

Adorable Girlfriend said...

Great stuff, Phronk! Congrats to you, Phronk, MS.

I hope you'll post your thesis sometime for all of us to review.

Jason said...

I hope the oral part goes well. Congratulations!

Valkyrie said...

Don't be afraid to be different, and don't be afraid to rely on your gut feelings. At least to a certain extent, being both creative and intuitive can be the best way to make intelligent decisions.

That would explain why I make crappy life decisions.

toobusyliving said...

Good luck with your defense.....I want an autographed leather bound copy.

Phronk said...

Thanks everyone, for your words of congratuations and enthusiasm for oral sex.

Sirbarret: True, although there is some attempt to make IQ tests culture-neutral, it's pretty much impossible to completely do so. I tend to ignore that issue - I'm studying people in this culture, who are proficient in the language. It may not apply to other cultures, but I'll let other people worry about that (for now, anyway). It is also sad but true that school can have a mind-closing effect. Based on my research here, perhaps part of the reason for that is that intuition is usually discouraged. Think of math classes, where you must consciously figure out each step needed to get to the final answer, and write them all down for full marks. Intuitively jumping to the final answer is probably an indication or cause of greater mental ability, but is suppressed by schooling.

Amanda said...

Wow, I really enjoyed reading your conclusions. Very interesting topic. I think it is more important sometimes to FEEL and less important to think. I think that is the intuition you are talking about. I have very little fact to back up my thoughts and feelings about things like aliens, religion, etc. But that doesn't make those feelings, those intuitive ideas any less relevent. Not exactly what you are talking about here, but along the same lines. Cool blog...

sarah said...

hmm... I have some questions for you. What comes to mind first is your method of measuring things like a person's intelligence, creativity and intuition. I have a hard time with quantifying things like this. I don't believe you can accurately measure these things. That's probably why I am going to be a master of art and not science.

Congratufuckinglations, man! That's awesome. Good luck with the oral! Sounds dirty! In one year I will be done my thesis on representation of interracial couples on TV and then you can poke holes in the structure of my premis too. You are on the way to becoming Doctor Phronk, and I would like to think I taught you everything you know.

Von said...

Actually, the plural of thesis is "theses" which strangely sounds like "feces". I think phdcomic had it right that when you research something for your grad degree, it's in a topic that few people know or care about, and will be read by only one other person after it's published (the student that takes your place in the lab). At least that's what it feels like when your topic is: "The role of the lateral occipital cortex in object perception and memory."; or "The effects of L-dopa treatment on TrK B mRNA levels of zitter mutant rat".

That aside, congrats :)!

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