For many people, the process of brainstorming can be really similar to a summer thunderstorm. At first, there was a strong wind and thunder, and countless ideas fell from the sky. But after a while, the wind became soft and the ideas dropped less and less. Finally, with a bang, the person who came up with the idea smashed his head on the table: no idea. < / P > < p > we are no stranger to the feeling of exhaustion. Intuitively, creativity, like physical strength, may be used less and less. Because of this, we often think that our brains have been exhausted and there is no room for us to come up with new ideas. However, an article recently published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAs) seems to point to the possibility that the exhaustion of inspiration you think is probably just an illusion (Lucas & Nordgren, 2020). < / P > < p > the illusion called “creative cliff” refers to the fact that people often mistakenly underestimate the persistence of their creativity. In a series of experiments, participants were asked to do a five minute “mini solo brainstorming” – in which they needed one person to figure out as many ways as possible to help local charities increase donations. < / P > < p > before they start a solo brainstorming session, they first need to estimate whether they will be particularly creative or not every minute of the brainstorming. Their prediction of themselves is very similar to what you and I have experienced in brainstorming: when the experimenters combined the scores of the 110 subjects, their scores actually declined over time. In the first minute, the participants who were full of confidence in their creativity had lower and lower estimates of themselves after the second minute, until the end of the fifth minute brainstorming. < / P > < p > after the brainstorming, another group of participants scored the ideas that previous participants had come up with every minute. What they value most is creativity: creative ideas must be both novel and useful. Based on this score, the experimenters calculated a “creativity” score for each minute of brainstorming participants’ performance. What is surprising is that the actual scores of these brainstorming participants are getting higher and higher over time. That is to say, although these people may predict that their inspiration will be exhausted and their creativity will decrease, their actual performance is the opposite. People come up with ideas that will become more and more creative over time. The gap between “I think” and “actually” has led researchers to name it the creative cliff illusion. < / P > < p > more importantly, such performance is not an accident in the laboratory. The researchers also considered the effect of domain specific knowledge on the cliff illusion of creativity. Previous studies have shown that people’s knowledge in a certain field can greatly affect their performance in brainstorming related to a certain field (amabile, 1988). If a person has a lot of experience working with local charities, they may be able to help with their ideas. However, experimental evidence suggests that experts in these fields have not escaped this illusion. They also suffer from the illusion of creative cliff. < / P > < p > moreover, such cliffs are not limited to just five minutes of brainstorming. If the prediction, broken down into minutes, seemed unconvincing, the researchers followed up with an experiment spanning five days. In this experiment, participants were asked to predict their creativity for five days. They recreated the cliff again: the subjects thought they might run out of food after the third day. However, their actual performance shows that on the fifth day, their performance is still the same as the next day. One possibility is expected productivity. People may think that creativity, as well as productivity, will slowly decline over time – just like running tired and the car running out of gas, and their performance in brainstorming will slow down. However, this series of evidence shows that the expected productivity, like the predicted creativity, can not match the real creativity well. It’s not necessary for us to stop our creativity in the cradle of creativity when we think it’s not necessary to stop our creativity in advance. The good news, however, is that this creative cliff illusion is not without solutions. This paper in the proceedings of the American Academy of Sciences provides two solutions: the first is to practice more. In the study, the experimenters also compared the effects of creative experience. They found that people who often do creative things in their daily life are more accurate in judging their creativity curve and can better match the actual situation. < / P > < p > and the second point, you don’t have to worry about it. They found that people who knew what the cliff of creativity was all about – those who read a short passage about the illusion of the cliff before the experiment – judged their creativity curve more realistically.