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7.5.3. Association: Associated Emotions


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 7. How The Brain Works > 7.5. Association: Just Like That > 7.5.3. Association: Associated Emotions

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When we commit something to long-term memory, the associations of the context in which we experienced it often get saved alongside it. If we remember a concert we went to, we may also remember details of the people around us, the sound of the music, the smells in the theatre along with the emotions we felt. If I saw a friend just after witnessing an accident, then thinking of the friend is likely to drag along the memories and traumatic feelings about the accident.

One of the unfortunate effects that this has on innovation is that we may well associate having creative new ideas with being told off as children (or even as adults) as we are taught to conform to strict social norms. As a result of this, creative thoughts can be associated with feelings of guilt and repression, resulting in rejection not only of our own ideas but also those of others. We seldom do this consciously or even remember the original incident.

If we do not take steps to understand and release the trauma of our past, it will follow us around like a trail of tin cans, clanking inconveniently and tripping us up when we least need such disturbance. These bad feelings are very good at protecting themselves: consider how the notion of psychotherapy or counselling of some sort is alien and frightening to many people, despite the fact that taking time to look inside yourself can be a powerful creative tool. The first steps on this path is to gain a greater understanding of how we work and how our inner mental systems can help or hinder inventive thought. This section of the book, although not a definitive tome on psychology is intended to help you along the way.

Other parts in this section are:

The other sections in this chapter:

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