There’s a reason genius and solitude seem to go hand in hand, a new study says. Social rejection leads to creative problem solving.
Don’t let rejection get you down—it might be the ticket to creativity, science says. That’s right: If regular rejection doesn’t cause you to lose all self-confidence and withdraw from the world entirely, it just might boost your ability to think outside of the mainstream and draw upon a unique worldview, suggesting that the kind of people society considers “geniuses” might tend to have a go-it-alone, loner mentality.
Research conducted by Cornell and Johns Hopkins University researchers has shown that people who are able to handle rejection in the proper manner—by shrugging it off and blazing their own, independent trails—can experience heightened creativity and even commercial success through an ability to eschew mainstream thought and groupthink and instead pursue their own creative solutions to problems. They tested their hypothesis through a series of experiments in which they manipulated the experience of social rejection; subjects in the study were led to believe that everyone in a group exercise could choose whom to work with on a team project, only to be told later that no one had selected them for a team.
For people with an independent mindset, this rejection inspired them to go on and complete the exercise in a way that was deemed more creative (we’re not exactly sure how “creativity” was measured). For people without an independent mindset—well, we’re not really sure what kind of impact this exclusion had on them (hopefully someone later told them it was just an experiment, it was all in good fun, and really, everyone here thinks you’re great).
The researchers acknowledge that for some, the consequences of rejection can be quite negative. Their research is only intended to show that for those of a certain mindset, social rejection can have a silver lining, driving home something that we more or less already knew: it’s not easy being a genius.
Alcohol is more dangerous than illegal drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, according to a new study.
British experts evaluated substances including alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to the individual who takes them and to society as a whole.
Researchers analyzed how addictive a drug is and how it harms the human body, in addition to other criteria like environmental damage caused by the drug, its role in breaking up families and its economic costs, such as health care, social services, and prison.
Neuropharmacologist David Nutt, MD, of Imperial College London, and colleagues rated 20 different drugs on a scale that takes into account the various harms caused by a drug. Drugs are rated on nine harms a drug causes an individual and seven harms a drug causes society.
The scale, developed by a panel of experts called the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ICSD), ranges from 0 (no harm) to 100 (greatest possible harm). It is weighted so that a drug that scores 50 is half as harmful as a drug that scores 100.
“The highest and lowest overall harm scores … are 72 for alcohol and 5 for mushrooms,” Nutt and colleagues calculate. “The ICSD scores lend support to the widely accepted view that alcohol is an extremely harmful drug both to users and to society.”
Alcohol was found to be the most harmful drug to society and the fourth most harmful drug to users.
The findings should come as no surprise: Alcohol has been linked to more than 60 diseases.