Remembering Past Lives and Creativity

Experiencing memories of past lives is anomalous in Western culture. Such experiences may signify an overinclusive cognitive style, associated with creative ability. Accordingly, are reports of past life memory (PLM) associated with creativity? Is PLM associated with measures of overinclusiveness? To investigate these issues, researchers conducted two studies which were recently published in Psychology of Consciousness. In study one, they recruited subjects who reported having recovered memories of previous lives, and compared them to demographically matched comparison subjects on measures of creativity and latent inhibition (LI). Relative to comparison subjects, those reporting PLM had significantly higher scores on a variety of creativity measures, but not significantly higher scores on creative achievement (p = .10). The PLM subjects were significantly more likely to have low LI, an indicator of overinclusive cognition associated with creativity in high-IQ subjects (Carson, Peterson, & Higgins, 2003). Partly replicating Carson et al.’s findings, low LI scores in subjects with high IQ scores predicted high scores on measures of divergent thinking and creativity, but not on a measure of creative achievement. In study two, researachers investigated the prevalence of past life beliefs and PLM among high-creative versus low-creative students. Relative to low-creative subjects, those high on creative achievement were significantly more likely to endorse both past life beliefs and report PLM. Further, both high- (relative to low-) creative achievers and those with PLM (relative to those with no PLM) scored significantly higher on a schizotypal personality measure of overinclusive thinking.

For the abstract


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