Researchers imagine an app that cures writer’s block

Artists and writers struggling for inspiration may soon be able to use an imagination app. British psychologists are developing methods to test and improve the imagination. They also hope to produce an iPhone app to strengthen imagination through daily creativity exercises.

Dr Sophie von Stumm, from Goldsmiths, University of London, who is heading the two-year project, said: “We will develop new psychometric tests to assess imagination, and then validate them in several studies. Most importantly, however, we will find ways to improve imagination that everybody can use. We will develop an iphone application that will be freely available, with exercises and tips for enhancing imagination.

“This will be the greatest contribution of our project to society, because imagination is at the core of our everyday thinking and behaviour.” Imagination is the creation of mental representations of images, sensations and concepts that are not perceived at the same time by the senses.

Despite being key to psychological development, it remains elusive. There are few ways to measure imagination, and little is known about how it works and what impact it has on people.

The researchers plan to explore the mysteries of imagination and formulate psychometric tests that can deliver an ‘imagination quotient’, or ‘imQ’.

Genetic and environmental influences on imagination will also be investigated by comparing identical and non-identical twins, and how imagination relates to intelligence and personality.


Dr Sarah Miller is the CEO of Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre, the national centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. She has a degree in Biotechnology and a PHD in Environmental Science in Waste Conversion Technologies.‘We have to give people positive messages’

When I was pregnant with Joan, I knew she was a girl. We didn’t find out the gender of the baby, but I just knew. Or else, I so badly wanted a girl, I convinced myself that is exactly what we were having.Mum's the Word: I have a confession: I never wanted sons. I wanted daughters

What is it about the teenage years that are so problematic for families? Why does the teenage soul rage against the machine of the adult world?Learning Points: It’s not about the phone, it’s about you and your teen

Judy Collins is 80, and still touring. As she gets ready to return to Ireland, she tells Ellie O’Byrne about the songs that have mattered most in her incredible 60-year career.The songs that matter most to Judy Collins from her 60-year career

More From The Irish Examiner