Enhancing the Creativity of Psychologists Through Flotation REST

  • Janet Metcalfe
  • Peter Suedfeld
Part of the Recent Research in Psychology book series (PSYCHOLOGY)


Many retrospective reports of highly creative scientists, artists, and poets suggest that a hypnogogic state of consciousness may be especially fruitful for the initial stages of creative scientific research or new works of art. Perhaps the most famous of these reports is the often cited discovery of the Fuchsian functions in mathematics, by Poincare, who discovered the existence of these functions during a state of light sleep. “For fifteen days I strove to prove that there could not be any functions like those I have since called Fuchsian functions. I was then very ignorant; every day I seated myself at my work table, stayed an hour or two, tried a great number of combinations and reached no results. One evening, contrary to my custom, I drank black coffee and could not sleep. Ideas rose in crowds; I felt them collide until pairs interlocked, so to speak, making a stable combination. By the morning I had established the existence of a class of Fuchsian functions, those which come from the hypergeometric series; I had only to write out the results, which took but a few hours” (Vernon, 1970, p. 81). Kekule, too, is reported to have discovered the structure of benzine during a dream in which he viewed an image of a snake biting its own tail, which provoked the insight of the ringlike structure of benzine.


Mental Rotation Free Play Control Session Sensory Deprivation Creative Individual 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Metcalfe
  • Peter Suedfeld

There are no affiliations available

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