ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (10): 1807-1817.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.01807

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The effect of ZEN on creative thinking

SHU Chenye1, SHEN Wangbing1,2,3(), ZHAO Yuan1   

  1. 1 School of Public Administration and Institute of Applied Psychology, Hohai University, Nanjing 211100, China
    2 Business School, Hohai University, Nanjing 211100, China
    3 Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Leiden University, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Received:2017-06-28 Online:2018-10-15 Published:2018-08-27
  • Contact: SHEN Wangbing


It is known that as a training tool, ZEN has an extensive influence on human’s mental processes. In terms of divergent thinking and convergent thinking, the two important, similar but different ways of ZEN show significant differences. Meditation improves divergent thinking mainly based on cognitive flexibility and other factors such as attention strategies, the unconscious activation, the problem-solving motivation and emotion regulation; in terms of convergent thinking, by means of regulating executive function and possible cognitive restructuring, mindfulness can promote the transformation of set or functional fixedness. In terms of the mechanism, enhancing effect of ZEN on creative thinking not only benefits from the unconscious associative processing when the mind wanders, but also is adjusted by emotion effect induced by ZEN. This article sorts out the above-mentioned questions systematically, then points out the deficiencies of previous studies and prospects several future research directions.

Key words: Zen Training, creative thinking, divergent thinking, convergent thinking