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Aukje Verhoeven, clinical psychologist and postdoc at the University of Amsterdam, has won the 2015 Creative Mind Prize.

The prize was recently presented by cabaret performer Freek de Jonge at the annual Brain Day held by the Amsterdam Brain & Cognition centre. The prize includes a grant of €10,000, which the clinical psychologist can use to perform research at the UvA for a year.

Do associations get in the way of solving problems creatively?

Verhoeven is currently researching human habits. In her new study, she wants to link the mental associations underlying those habits with creativity. Her hypothesis is that associations hinder our ability to solve problems creatively. Verhoeven believes that associations triggered by problematic situations cause us to focus too much on a particular solution, thus hindering our ability to conceive of others.

About the prize

The Creative Mind Prize, an initiative of the Freek en Hella de Jonge Stichting, is presented to a young academic with an original and exciting research proposal, centred on creativity and the workings of the human brain. The prize winner receives the opportunity to pursue a research plan at the UvA research centre Amsterdam Brain & Cognition (ABC).