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Art & Soul: The Art of Well Being - Helping Find Hidden Sources Of Purpose, Strength, And Passion



This week, "Art and Soul" is about the art of well being.  WEMU’s Lisa Barry talks with Dr. Melissa Peet, founder of the Generative Knowledge Institute, who developed her methods through her research at the University of Michigan and teaches special workshops in Ann Arbor and all over the world.

Dr. Peet explains that generative knowledge are the things we gather unconsciously throughout the day and, by asking the right questions, a person can share experiences more vividly.  She demonstrates by differentiating between disembodied and embodied questions. 

Disembodied questions are questions that take people out their bodies like “How was school today?” while embodied questions channel hidden passions and knowledge by asking questions with emotions attached to them.  Dr. Peet uses the question, “Tell me about a recent experience where you felt fully engaged and alive,” as an example of what an embodied question looks like.

Dr. Peet discovered generative knowledge when she was sick with lupus, and she started noticing a difference between good and bad days based on the sorts of things she asked her students in class.  She spent the next 10 years studying what sorts of things uncover hidden knowledge from people.  She also noticed during her studies that first-generation college students have a 50% retention rate on average but when using generative knowledge techniques, Dr. Peet noticed that the average retention rise to 90%.

The end goal of generative knowledge is to find hidden passions and strengths in people as well as teaching people to open up more by recalling unconscious information, shares Dr. Peet.  “We experience 11 million different stimuli in a day but we are only conscious of about 40 of them,” says Dr. Peet. 

She hopes that her studies into generative knowledge can be used worldwide to help people open up about their experiences and recall them more vividly.


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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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