Ashley Merryman

Stories by Ashley Merryman

  • creativity-test-tease

    Forget Brainstorming

    Brainstorming in a group became popular in 1953 with the publication of a business book, "Applied Imagination." But it’s been proven not to work since 1958, when Yale researchers found that the technique actually reduced a team’s creative output: the same number of people generate more and better ideas separately than together.
  • creativity-test-tease

    The Creativity Crisis

    Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the “Torrance kids,” a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, “How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?”
  • Why Counting Blessings Is So Hard for Teenagers

    As Thanksgiving preparations shifted into high gear, media outlets large and small have been opining on the importance of gratitude, but, more specifically, they've often targeted their sights on the most ungrateful creature of all: the adolescent. ...
  • What Do Preschools Have in Common with Bridges?

    If you are heading into Manhattan, off the George Washington Bridge, you can't miss the Bridge Apartments, a cluster of four 32-story apartment buildings built right over the interstate. The buildings' 4,000 residents seem like nothing compared to the 300,000 cars that go whizzing underneath the buildings each day. ...
  • Why Teens Care So Much About Clothes

    “We place kids in schools together with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other kids typically from similar economic and cultural backgrounds. We group them all within a year or so of one another in age. We equip them with similar gadgets, expose them to the same TV shows, lessons, and sports. We ask them all to take almost the exact same courses and do the exact same work and be graded relative to one another. We give them only a handful of ways in which they can meaningfully demonstrate their competencies. And then we’re surprised they have some difficulty establishing a sense of their own individuality.”The above quote comes from Joe Allen’s compelling new book, Escaping the Endless Adolescence, and regular readers of our blog will recognize that the passage was also the basis for one of our most popular recent columns, on why teens are growing up so slowly today. Teens' lives are so fundamentally similar─both similar to each others’, even very similar to much younger...