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It’s been centuries in internet terms, but it wasn’t that long ago that soccer moms and proto-lifehackers were buzzing about something called the Mozart Effect, which claimed extended exposure to Austrian string quartets could improve everything from spatial reasoning to IQ and SAT scores. A lot of people listened to a lot of good music, but somehow the new generation of chamber music geniuses never quite materialized…

Well, get ready for another go-round. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara and the University of British Columbia (via BehanceMag.net) have found that working your way through Kafka’s “The Country Doctor” or David Lynch’s Blue Velvet can spur creativity, just like good old Wolfgang. Apparently the absurdism shocks the brain into out-of-the-box thinking by presenting what the researchers call “meaning threat.” Which, come to think of it, is a pretty Lynchian turn of phrase…

What does it all mean? It means the next time you’re getting ready for a brainstorming session, you may want to consider a Twin Peaks marathon. The jittery, loosely paranoid feeling means it’s working. Just don’t watch it on a telephone.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom