Innovative ideas often emerge between spatial, object, and verbal ways of thinking rather than in any one of them. Creative breakthroughs sometimes arise when people try to convert thoughts from one mode into another. This chapter compares the mental worlds of novelist Salman Rushdie, game designer Jason Rohrer, neuroscientist Edward G. Jones, novelist and philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, painter Rigoberto A. Gonzalez, and graphic designer Harriet Goren. Jones’s and Goren’s insights reveal that being visually gifted often means being able to describe one’s visions well in words. Cognitive scientist Lawrence Barsalou proposes that thinking and remembering involve simulations of past sensory–motor states, and neuroscientist Nancy Andreasen argues that the relaxed mental state conducive to creativity promotes the mixing of recreated sensations. Neuroscientist Vanessa Sluming has revealed that some orchestra musicians have enhanced spatial abilities and language centers. Actively trying to interconvert object, spatial, and verbal representations can promote creative thought.
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