Inspired by Andy Warhol’s Factory? Not unimaginable. In any case, the John Templeton Foundation, with $5.6M or so from its deep pockets, has given birth to the Imagination Institute—-a Philadelphia think tank that for the last two years has been tapping an array of talent for insight into the creative process, hoping ultimately to come up with an “imagination quotient.” Three dozen scientific investigators at 16 institutions have been awarded Templeton research money related to the project. But can imagination really be quantified?
The Imagination Institute, headquartered at the University of Pennsylvania, describes its mission this way:
“The Imagination Institute, an independent non-profit based out of Philadelphia and made possible by the support of the John Templeton Foundation, is dedicated to making progress on the measurement, growth, and improvement of imagination across all sectors of society.”
One of the Imagination Institute’s grantees is University of California, Santa Barbara psychologist Jonathan Schooler. Schooler and UCSB postdoctoral researcher, Claire Zedelius have been awarded $200,000 to find out how daydreaming influences creativity, particularly creative writing. Their interest is in whether intervention—-that is, guided daydreaming—-can lead to more inspired writing.