Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence by Thalma Lobel

Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence by Thalma LobelWhile Lobel’s research on physical intelligence has been noted as “the most innovative in psychology,” this book wasn’t as lively and impactful as I’d hoped.

When I first grabbed the book off the shelf, it certainly made a physical impact; instantly I experienced the purposefully crafted smooth vs. rough texture of the dust jacket. However, after page 24, that impact had worn off and I began skimming and scanning the remainder of the book.

From my vantage point, the highlights of the book are as follows:

Our everyday speech is rooted in the connection between our physical experience and our psychological state. Because our minds do not exist in a vacuum, our feelings and values can be affected by subtle influences around us.

An example might be: Holding onto a warm cup of coffee during a meeting. This could leave us feeling connected and positive. While holding onto a cold beverage could more than likely result in the opposite—feeling alone and negative.

“Our senses provide important information, vital to our survival, but we need to be conscious of the mixed messages they can convey and evaluate them with discernment.” Texture for example influences our perceptions, judgments and behavior (as witnessed by me purchasing the book so quickly after first contact). By touching something rough we may embody a “roughness” and likewise with something soft, hard or smooth.

Our speech is rooted in psychology as displayed by the research surrounding embodying creative metaphors. The most captivating part of the book came in Chapter 11 where Lobel recounts research regarding Embodied Metaphors and Creative “Acts.”

Let me explain. We are often encouraged to “think outside the box” or to consider things “on one hand, then on the other.” Lobel shares powerful findings from five studies revealing that both physical and psychological embodiment of metaphors for creativity promote convergent and divergent thinking as well as problem solving (a.k.a. functions of creative thinking). The research showed that people who were asked to think creatively did so when they were physically outside of a box versus being inside an actual box. In addition, people who think on one hand and then another are more creative than people who think on only one hand (metaphorically and literally).

I could tell you that I’m not fully in favor of you purchasing or reading this book unless you feel a strong urge to do so. But, I won’t. Let these other reviews on the book assist you in decided to read, or not to read:


Sensation, The New Science of Physical Intelligence by Thalma Lobel
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