Is it possible that people who are easily distracted tend to be more creative than those who are highly focused?
A lack of latent inhibition, or the ability to filter out potential sources of distraction, can in fact be conducive to absorbing greater quantities of information and stimuli, thus giving apparently highly distractible people more thoughts and ideas to work with, potentially making them more creative as a result.
The association between creativity and open-mindedness has long been recognized, and what’s more open-minded than distractability? People with low latent inhibition are literally unable to close their mind, to keep the spotlight of attention from drifting off to the far corners of the stage. The end result is that they can’t help but consider the unexpected.
Browsing the web or writing emails with mobile web-enabled devices may be fine for alleviating the odd spot of boredom while waiting in a queue, or sitting out a bus or train ride, but constant exposure to data can deny our minds the opportunity to absorb and retain information, and also hinder our ability to think things through, or devise ideas.
Cellphones, which in the last few years have become full-fledged computers with high-speed Internet connections, let people relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation. The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.