What is associative thinking
Associations are traces in our memory through which we have formed or formed ideas about some objects. The 18th-century English thinker David Gartley first introduced the concept of association and explained how complex mental processes are interpreted by connecting simple elements such as sensations and representations.
Any action from the outside (a word, a smell, a sound) activates the focus of excitation in the cortex of the large hemispheres. Excitation along nerve fibers spreads in the cortex, starting former centers and evoking feelings, pictures, and thoughts in memory. These images are built into the thinking process and generate new ideas and opinions.
Associative thinking is not a gift of fate but a given. We are all able to think by associations. One is a little better at it, the other a little worse. But everyone has his own unique set and spectrum of associations. The broader and richer our associations are, the more vividly we can express ourselves in the outside world by inventing associative series. These series may be illogical and contradictory, but they exist in mind. For some people, autumn is a slushy time, but for others, it is a time of inspiration and love.
What are the benefits of associative thinking?
We can remember many cases when specific associations helped make a scientific discovery or create a new invention. For example, an engineer specializing in bridge construction — Broun — once saw a spider web while sitting under a bush, and it prompted him to invent a suspension bridge that is attached to cables. Dunlon, a Scotsman, developed rubber tires after seeing a flexible hose. When scientists tried to understand the place of subatomic particles in the atom, physicist H. Nagaoka from Japan associated with the solar system.
Developed associative thinking can be beneficial. It helps in creating new ideas and stimulates the development of imagination. Associative thinking helps to improve the process of remembering new things. The author of the book “Supermemory” Tony Busen suggested using the associative method to memorize information quickly. To fix the memory of a new concept, it is necessary to relate it to an already familiar idea, that is, to conduct between them the association. Thus, a person binds new knowledge to those already in his arsenal. This is how associative memory works.
Inite is a revolutionary application that makes achieving your goals daily an engaging and interactive experience that allows you to earn and gain an audience of influence. Developing associative thinking will not only make it easier to generate ideas but will also have a beneficial effect on brain activity and memory.
Best practices for generating ideas with associations
Mental maps are a method aimed at visualizing connections and activating associative thinking. It allows you to encompass better the whole picture of the issue being studied and activates creative thinking through the use of graphics.
How is it done?
Draw (or write) an image of the problem in the center. On the branches that will depart from it — write down your ideas. Engage associative thinking, gradually unfolding each chapter into smaller ones — this will allow you to work through each new concept in detail. Use drawings, and make the map multicolored — for greater clarity and to engage figurative thinking.
While previous techniques allowed maximum thinking relaxation, SCAMPER gives it a specific direction. This allows the result precisely in those cases where free-thinking does not work. In its expanded form, it is 60 questions and 200 associative words.
How is it done?
SCAMPER is an acronym that stands for seven keywords that stimulate creative thinking:
Substitute — Break the problem down into components and individual processes and think about what you can replace each of them with.
Combine — Combine parts of a problem with external objects (or ideas) to create something new.
Adapt — think of other ways to use the resources and capabilities you already have to solve a problem.
Modify/Magnify — Look for ways to change and improve existing ideas or processes, to change their intensity or relevance.
Put to other uses — think of additional services for your idea.
Eliminate — Simplify the problem, break it down, and discard what can be sacrificed.
Rearrange — What happens when you break the sequence in your task? Turn it upside down or shuffle the key blocks?
Focal Object Method
Randomness and associative thinking are two things that surprisingly often accompany great discoveries and great ideas. The focal (or random) object method is based on these two phenomena. It consists in mentally transferring the characteristics of randomly chosen objects to the subject under consideration.
How is this done?
Choose a specific object (it will be called a focal object) that you want to improve (for example, an external battery — Powerbank).
Randomly select several objects (apple, ship, Yandex, box).
Describe the properties of each object (e.g., apple — natural, juicy; ship — military, underwater; Yandex — all-knowing; box — cardboard, wooden);
Transfer the properties to the focal object, incorporate associative thinking, and choose the most robust options (natural — you can make a stylish case out of wood, military, underwater — you can make it waterproof and shockproof, omniscient — you can add a handy charge indicator).
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