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How can we train our brains to be more comfortable when confronting change? How do our brains generate new ideas, and how can we nurture that process? Why can diversity and even discord be beneficial to our thought process?
What gives the human brain the edge over computers? The bestselling author of Subliminal and The Drunkard’s Walk Leonard Mlodinow visits the RSA to reveal the secrets of that particularly human trait: flexible thinking.
Out of the exploratory instincts that allowed our ancestors to prosper hundreds of thousands of years ago, humans developed a cognitive style that Mlodinow terms elastic thinking, a unique set of talents that include neophilia (an affinity for novelty), schizotypy (a tendency toward unusual perception), imagination and idea generation, and divergent and integrative thinking. These are the qualities that enabled innovators from Mary Shelley to Miles Davis, from the inventor of jumbo-sized popcorn to the creators of Pokémon Go, to effect paradigm shifts in our culture and society. In our age of unprecedented technological innovation and social change, it is more important than ever to encourage these abilities and traits.