People with creative personalities really do see the world differently

Image result for People with creative personalities really do see the world differentlyWhat is it about a creative work such as a painting or piece of music that elicits our awe and admiration? Is it the thrill of being shown something new, something different, something the artist saw that we did not?

As Pablo Picasso put it:

Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.

The idea that some people see more possibilities than others is central to the concept of creativity.

Psychologists often measure creativity using divergent thinking tasks. These require you to generate as many uses as possible for mundane objects, such as a brick. People who can see numerous and diverse uses for a brick (say, a coffin for a Barbie doll funeral diorama) are rated as more creative than people who can only think of a few common uses (say, for building a wall).

The aspect of our personality that appears to drive our creativity is called openness to experience, or openness. Among the five major personality traits, it is openness that best predicts performance on divergent thinking tasks. Openness also predicts real-world creative achievements, as well as engagement in everyday creative pursuits.

As Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire explain in their book Wired to Create, the creativity of open people stems from a “drive for cognitive exploration of one’s inner and outer worlds”.

This curiosity to examine things from all angles may lead people high in openness to see more than the average person, or as another research team put it, to discover “complex possibilities laying dormant in so-called ‘familiar’ environments”.

Creative vision

In our research, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, we found that open people don’t just bring a different perspective to things, they genuinely see things differently to the average individual.

We wanted to test whether openness is linked to a phenomenon in visual perception called binocular rivalry. This occurs when two different images are presented to each eye simultaneously, such as a red patch to the right eye and a green patch to the left eye.

For the observer, the images seem to flip intermittently from one to the other. At one moment only the green patch is perceived, and at the next moment only the red patch – each stimulus appearing to rival the other (see illustration below).

Binocular rivalry task. Author provided

Intriguingly, participants in binocular rivalry studies occasionally see a fused or scrambled combination of both images (see middle frame, above). These moments of “rivalry suppression”, when both images become consciously accessible at once, seem almost like a “creative” solution to the problem presented by the two incompatible stimuli.

Across three experiments, we found that open people saw the fused or scrambled images for longer periods than the average person. Furthermore, they reported seeing this for even longer when experiencing a positive mood state similar to those that are known to boost creativity.

Our findings suggest that the creative tendencies of open people extend all the way down to basic visual perception. Open people may have fundamentally different visual experiences to the average person.

Seeing things that others miss

Another well-known perceptual phenomenon is called inattentional blindness. People experience this when they are so focused on one thing that they completely fail to see something else right before their eyes.

In a famous illustration of this perceptual glitch, participants were asked to watch a short video of people tossing a basketball to one another, and to track the total number of passes between the players wearing white.

Try this out yourself, before reading further!

Count the basketball passes between players in white.

During the video, a person in a gorilla costume wanders into centre stage, indulges in a little chest-beating, and then schleps off again. Did you see it? If not, you are not alone. Roughly half of the 192 participants in the original study completely failed to see the costumed figure.

But why did some people experience inattentional blindness in this study when others didn’t? The answer to this question came in a recent follow-up study showing that your susceptibility to inattentional blindness depends on your personality: open people are more likely to see the gorilla in the video clip.

Once again, it seems that more visual information breaks through into conscious perception for people high in openness — they see the things that others screen out.

Opening our minds: is more better?

It might seem as if open people have been dealt a better hand than the rest of us. But can people with uncreative personalities broaden their limited vistas, and would this be a good thing?

There is mounting evidence that personality is malleable, and increases in openness have been observed in cognitive training interventions and studies of the effects of psilocybin (the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms).

Openness also increases for students who choose to study overseas, confirming the idea that travel broadens the mind.

But there is also a dark side to the “permeability of consciousness” that characterises open people. Openness has been linked to aspects of mental illness, such as proneness to hallucination.

So despite its appeal, there may be a slippery slope between seeing more and seeing things that are not there.

So, from different personalities emerge different experiences, but we should always remember that one person’s view is not necessarily better than another’s.


Wearables Market Sales to See Modest 29.4 Percent Growth in 2016: IDC

Wearables Market Sales to See Modest 29.4 Percent Growth in 2016: IDC

Wearable tech, which was seeing sizzling sales growth a year ago, is cooling this year amid consumer hesitation over new devices, a survey showed Thursday.

The research firm IDC said it expects global sales of wearables to grow some 29.4 percent to some 103 million units in 2016.

That follows 171 percent growth in 2015, fuelled by the launch of the Apple Watch and a variety of fitness bands.

(Also see:  Apple Watch Series 2 Ceramic ‘Edition’ Model Costs Whopping $1,250; No Gold Model)

“It is increasingly becoming more obvious that consumers are not willing to deal with technical pain points that have to date been associated with many wearable devices,” said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.

So-called basic wearables – including fitness bands and other devices that do not run third party applications – will make up the lion’s share of the market with some 80.7 million units shipped this year, according to IDC.

IDC said smartwatch shipments are likely to grow just 3.9 percent, held back by a delayed release of the upgraded Apple Watch, which goes on sale Friday.

IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said the market “is moving in fits and starts” and could see stronger growth with the release of new and upgraded devices. “Smart eyewear is going to take off with the use of augmented and virtual reality,” he said.

Some items of smart clothing such as connected jackets or footwear could also drive the market, Llamas added.

Tags: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Series 2, Wearables, IDC, Smartwatches



How Vine’s Entire Source Code Was Online for Anyone to See

How Vine's Entire Source Code Was Online for Anyone to See


  • The ethical hacker was taking part in Twitter’s HackerOne programme
  • The hacker gained access to source code through a Docker image
  • The bug was fixed by website within 5 minutes of flaw’s demonstration

Hackers are known to be notorious. They like to find out all the vulnerabilities that various sites possess and depending on their intention, they use this knowledge to either create nuisance for the website owners or inform them about the loopholes to help make the site safer.

The makers of video-clip sharing site Vine, currently owned by Twitter, should be grateful that ethical hacker known by the name ‘avicoder’ chose to be the latter sort when he found a way to download Vine’s entire source code.

For those who are unaware about the subject, a source code for website usually contains confidential information and access to it can leave the site extremely vulnerable to attacks that can potentially even destroy it.

In this case, ‘avicoder’ was just looking at the potential security flaws without any ill intentions and in his blog post, he explained the entire flaw and how he gained the access to the site’s source code through its Docker image, which should ideally have been private but was publicly available. With the image, he was able to run the service locally on his machine.

“I was able to see the entire source code of vine, its API keys and third party keys and secrets. Even running the image without any parameter, was letting me host a replica of VINE locally,” the hacker said in his blog post.

On March 31, avicoder demonstrated a full exploitation of the security flaw to Twitter as part of its HackerOne bounty programme and the site then fixed the bug in around 5 minutes. The hacker was rewarded a bounty of $10,080(roughly Rs. 6,73,000) for informing the site about this flaw.

Tags: Ethical Hacker, Twitter HackerOne, Vine Security Flaw, Vine Source Code



Venture debt firms see pick up in demand as equity deals slow

Venture debt firms lend to new economy start-ups which are high-growth companies, asset-light and might have cash burn. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/MintVenture debt firms lend to new economy start-ups which are high-growth companies, asset-light and might have cash burn. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Mumbai: The slowdown in the availability of equity funding and a downward pressure on valuations in the venture capital ecosystem in the country has emerged as a business opportunity for firms which lend to technology start-ups.

Lending to start-ups is referred to as venture debt, and is substantially different from regular corporate lending which is generally asset-backed and provided to profit-making companies. Venture debt firms lend to new economy start-ups which are high-growth companies, asset-light and might have cash burn.

Typically venture debt firms charge interest rates in the mid teens, while equity investors look for returns which are above 25%.

While 2015 was a record year for venture capital (equity) funding, with $5.4 billion being invested across 473 deals, a majority of the investment activity occurred in the first half of the year. The second half of the year saw a marked slowdown, as several start-ups, especially in the food-tech sector, struggled to raise funds and had to scale back operations to conserve cash.

Temasek-backed InnoVen Capital closed 2015 with a lending of Rs.275 crore to 27 start-ups, the best year for the non-banking financial company (NBFC) since it started operations in India in 2009.

The firm has lent close to $150 million since starting operations here, having backed 70 start-ups so far.

“Recently, we have seen that equity capital is not easy to come by, so this (venture debt) becomes an important diversification tool for founders, said Vinod Murali, managing director at InnoVen Capital India, adding that there is a growing realization among start-up founders that equity is not the only source of capital.

“In the global arena too, venture debt has taken off with a lag with venture equity, I think even in India we are seeing that happen at this stage,” he added.

Trifecta Capital, which is registered as a category II alternative investment fund with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and has raised over Rs.200 crore from investors such as RBL Bank Ltd and others, is a relatively new company involved in the business.

Since starting operations in October, the fund has already lent Rs.50 crore to four start-ups and is witnessing a strong pipeline of deals.

“Clearly there are times when equity is available more easily and valuations tend to be more flexible, but what we are seeing in 2016 is that valuations are under pressure. Companies are realizing that they need to stretch their money as far as they can,” said Rahul Khanna, founder and managing partner at Trifecta Capital.

“In many ways, venture debt taken along with or after an equity round can give the company a three-to-five-month runway, which could mean a difference between raising money at X valuation or 1.5X valuation,” he said.

Apart from providing additional capital source to start-ups, venture debt has other benefits such as helping start-up founders reduce their equity dilution, while looking to raise capital to fund growth.

“To some extent if they are raising money and they are not getting the terms they want, then taking venture debt also helps in terms of dilution. For example, a start-up looking at raising $10 million, and not getting the targeted valuation, can raise $8 million in equity and the remaining $2 in debt, thereby reducing the equity dilution,” said Khanna.

Venture debt providers are hopeful that the current momentum in business will continue in 2016, given the current scenario in venture equity funding and the strong deal pipeline that they are witnessing.

InnoVen Capital is targeting to lend around $65-70 million (approximately Rs.350-400 crore) this calendar year.

“The final number would depend on opportunities, but we are feeling comfortable with that kind of estimate,” said Murali, adding that a recalibration is happening in the industry, which is making business more efficient and cutting flab.

According to Khanna, Trifecta is looking at making one or two investments every month, going ahead, with a ticket size ranging from Rs.5 crore to Rs.25 crore.

“Lot of financing activity happened in last 18-24 months, and many of those companies were consuming cash pretty quickly. So these start-ups are now looking at extending their runway, we are seeing some of that activity play through,” he said.