Creativity and the Brain

Explains how the brain decodes 3D information that has been coded into repeating patterns by computer programs. Contains pages of 3D illusions. (N.E. Thing Enterprises. Magic Eye. KA: Andrews and McMeel, 1993, p 4)

In order to achieve anything, you must first decide it is possible—that you are capable of it. (Dodd, Ray. The Power of Belief. VA: Hampton Roads Pub. Co. Inc., 2003, p 88)

Describes (and provides examples) of creativity not being diminished by aging. In many cases, just the opposite. (Dychtwald, Ken, PhD, and Joe Flower. Age Wave. NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1989, pp 90-110)

EEG brain waves (measured during a creative aha moment) showed very high gamma activity that spiked about 300 milliseconds before the answer came to conscious awareness. This highened activity is in the right temporal area on the side of the right neocortex. (Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 24-27. MA: More Than Sound, 2011)

Characteristics of the creative personality type (e.g., energy, independence, intuition, persistence) are similar to those revealed in a study of art history (e.g., change, pre-occupation, experimentation, fascination for the mysterious). (Henrickson, Paul, and E. Paul Torrance. School Discipline and the Creative personality. See website.)

Study: the single common denominator was that creative people thought they were creative. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, p 368)

Creativity in almost any arena can involve a new idea, a new bridge between ideas, or a combination of both. (Gordon, Barry, MD, PhD, and Lisa Berger. Intelligent Memory. NY: Penguin Group, 2003, pp 158-160)

The biological basis of creativity likely involves a composite of at least three of the factors (explorer, challenger, and flexible) that comprise the Big Five personality factors. (Howard, pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, pp 411-442, 599)

Outlines more than a dozen factors that may be “obstacles to creativity” (e.g., an overly critical nature, fear). (Howard, pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, pp 616-618)

Mof our educational system tries to teach students the right answer. However, most people stop searching if they think there is only one correct answer to a problem. (von Oech, Roger. A Whack on the Side of the Head. CA: Creative Think, 1983, 1992, pp 20-164)

Einstein developed some of his best creative ideas when doing other things such as walking, holding a conversation, or daydreaming (e.g., imagining what it might feel like to ride a beam of light and look back at a clock). (Cooper, Robert K., PhD., and Ayman Sawaf. Executive EQ. NY: Grosset-Putnam, 1997, pp 19-20)

The creative brain involves the whole brain: the left-right-top-bottom regions with a large web of connections. (Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 23. MA: More Than Sound, 2011)

The brain is the most variable and rapidly evolving of all human organs. Its variability must be divined, however, through unique expressions of intelligence, sensitivity, skills, and creativity. (Schramm, Derek D., PhD. The Creative Brain. p 3-5. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Health Update. 2007.)

Results from interactions between the emotional brain, and the temporal lobes and right hemisphere of the neocortex. (pearce, Joseph Chilton. The Biology of Transcendence. VT: Park Street Press, 2002, pp 30-32)

Brainstorming and creativity are compatible brain functions. Brainstorming is a subsidiary of creativity. (Levine, Mel, MD. A Mind at a Time. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002, pp 211-213)

The four phases of Graham Wallas’ creative process can be correlated with use of the four cerebral quadrants of the brain. (Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain. NC: The Ned Herrmann Group, 1989, 1993, pp 191-192)

Brains that are more feminine in differentiation are more likely to evidence significant musical, creative, and artistic talents. They tend to use intuition in decision-making. Some brains have no bias toward either male or female styles of thinking. They often have increased flexibility in thinking. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 65-70)

Brainstorming is an activity that often makes liberal use of creative thinking in order to (starting with little or nothing) generate a product or a collection of insights. (Levine, Mel, MD. A Mind at a Time. NY: Simon & Schuster, 2002, pp 211-213)

Brainstorming can speed creative thinking about a specific problem. List playful/weird ideas, avoid censoring, select best 2-3, and evaluate. (Siebert, Al, PhD. The Survivor Personality. NY: A Perigee Book, 1996, pp 68-70)

Studies on the subject of business creativity: any individual with average intelligence can be creative. It is a function of:

Experience, knowledge, and technical skills

  • Talent
  • Unconventional thinking
  • Confidence to persist when new ideas remain elusive

(Breen, Bill. The 6 Myths of Creativity. 89:75. Fast Company. 2004.)

Refer to Cellular Memory for additional information.

More than a century old, the classic model of creativity (although somewhat simplistic) defines four stages of creativity:

  1. Define and frame the problem
  2. Gather ideas, data, and information
  3. Relax, let go, and do something else (high alpha rhythm)
  4. Execution and implementation

(Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 24-26. MA: More Than Sound, 2011)

Novelty and intelligence are essential components of creativity and they must coexist appropriately. Basic intelligence is needed to generate novel ideas; higher intelligence is required to analyze the novel ideas in detail. Wisdom (often considered the balance between creativity and intelligence) is needed to evaluate appropriateness of the novel idea and to discover a previously unrecognized relationship between objects or ideas. (Schramm, Derek D., PhD. The Creative Brain. p 3-5. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Health Update. 2007.)

Describes three necessary components: domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant skills, and task motivation. Two prerequisites determine our level of creative performance: experience and personality traits. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, pp 595-596)

You only have control over: where you put your attention and the decisions you make about what happens to you or around you. (Dodd, Ray. The Power of Belief. VA: Hampton Roads Pub. Co. Inc., 2003, pp 97-98)

The Creative Self Model describes the four brain quadrants and embrace the major components of whole brained creativity. Provides many practical applications. (Herrmann, Ned. The Whole Brain Business Book. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1996, pp 222-248)

Discusses how achieve a balance between creativity and an emphasis on business operations. Explains creativity in the context of cerebral brain preference. (Benziger, I. Katherine, PhD. Thriving in Mind. TX: KBA Publishing 2000, pp 319-326)

The ability to use old programs in fresh combinations forms the basis of creativity. (Hart, Leslie A. Human Brain and Human Learning. NY: Longman Inc., 1983, p 100)

Creativity is not necessarily making something new. It may rather involve a reshuffling of existing facts and ideas. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001, pp 143-149)

The ability to invent, or generate, or to approach problems in any field from a fresh perspective. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, pp 324-325)

Creativity is a way of seeing things not perceived before. He compares it to holding an idea or problem up to the light and slowly turning it, like a multifaceted diamond, and letting a shaft of light hit it differently each time. (Farmer, Richard Allen. It Won’t Fly if You Don’t Try. MD: Review and Herald Graphics, 1996, pp 85-94)

Portions of your brain continually make Creativity occurs along a continuum and is a necessary component of prediction. It ranges from simple everyday acts of perception occurring in sensory regions (e.g., hearing a song in a new key) to rare acts of genius (e.g., composing a symphony in a new way). (Hawkins, Jeff, with Sandra Blakeslee. On Intelligence. NY: Owl Books, 2004, pp 88-89)

Creative thinking involves coming up with new ideas and giving up outdated ones, as well. Creative individuals tend to look at the same thing as others might, but perceive the thing differently. (von Oech, Roger. A Whack on the Side of the Head. CA: Creative Think, 1983, 1992, pp 6-8)

Divergent thinking (e.g., ability to deviate from one or more societal, cultural, or artistic norms) is an integral part of the creative process. This involves the ability to formulate alternative solutions by activating anatomically distinct representational networks that store different types of knowledge. (Schramm, Derek D., PhD. The Creative Brain. p 4-6. CA: Institute for Natural Resources, Health Update. 2007.)

Creativity can be negatively impacted when the brain is in a downshifted state. (Caine, Renate Nummela, and Geoffrey Caine. Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. VA: ASCD, 1991, pp 71-73)

Definition: the psychophysiological response to threat, accompanied by a sense of helplessness or fatigue. Downshifting is everywhere in schools. Some memorization can occur when the brain is in a downshifted state but real learning (e.g., creativity, higher-order learning) is incompatible with a downshifted state. (Poole, Carolyn.Maximizing Learning: A Conversation with Renate Nummela Caine. Educational Leadership, Vol 54, No 6 March 1997Article.)

Refer to Downshifting and the Brain for additional information.

Strong emotions that are not processed thoroughly are stored at the cellular level. At night stored information is released into consciousness as a dream. Re-experiencing the emotions through dreaming can be healing (e.g., integrate the information for growth, take actions to forgive and let go). (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. NY: Scribner, 1997, p 290)

Inspiration from dreams can enhance one’s creativity. (Fontana, David, PhD. Teach Yourself to Dream. CA: Chronicle Books, 1997, pp 34-35, 58-59)

The challenge now is to transform education systems into something better suited to the real needs of the 21st century. At the heart of this transformation there has to be a radically different view of human intelligence and of creativity. (Robinson, Ken, Sir, PhD. Out of Our Minds. p 14. NY: Capstone Publishing Ltd, 2001, 2011)

The breadth and depth of human diversity is staggering. There are significant problems with current educational culture. 1. There is a preoccupation with specific types of academic ability such as critical analysis and reasoning, particularly with words and numbers. 2. There is a hierarchy of subject: math, science and language skills at the top; humanities in the middle; arts at the bottom. There is even a hierarchy of arts with music and visual arts typically of higher status than theater and dance (if the arts are even included at all). 3. There is a growing reliance on a narrow range of standardized tests, with children under intense pressure to perform at higher and higher levels. The consequences of these three? Students are taught a very narrow view of intelligence and capacity, learn to overvalue specific types of talents and abilities, and are socialized to disregard types of intelligences that are just as important. This one-size-fits-all approach marginalizes all individuals who do not take naturally to learning this way. (Robinson, Ken, PhD. The Element. How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. p 10-14. NY: Penguin Group, 2009.)

Einstein struggled with rote learning in school. In spite of that, he became one of the world’s most eminent scientists. His success in life, according to Walter Issacson, author of an Einstein biography, came from his imagination and creativity. Not only that, Einstein knew how to back into solving tough problems by using other types of intelligences. For example, when wrestling with a challenge in his work, Einstein would often grab his violin and play at any time of the day or night, improvising melodies while he allowed his subconscious mind to ponder solutions to complicated problems. Sometimes, in the middle of his playing, he would suddenly put down his violin and announce, “I’ve got it!” The answer to the problem would have become clear to Einstein’s brain, as if by inspiration, in the midst of playing music on his violin. (Robinson, Ken, PhD. The Element. p 49-51. NY:Penguin Books, 2009.)

Strong feelings of fear can kill ideas. Feelings of fear can be generated by criticism, ridicule or failure, yelling bosses, etc. (Cooper, Robert K., PhD., and Ayman Sawaf.Executive EQ. NY: Grosset/Putnam, 1997, pp 34-35)

Refer to Emotions and Feelings for additional information.

Creativity thrives in an atmosphere of encouragement but shrivels up under environments filled with faultfinding and criticism. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD.20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, p 368)

Offers suggestions for enhancing creativity (e.g., playfully change your perceptions, look beyond the obvious interpretations). (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. NY: Harmony Books, 2001, pp 179-182)

Summarizes steps to develop creativity in oneself and others (taken from Csikszentmihalyi’s 1996 book Creativity). Steps include: try to be surprised by something every day and try to surprise at least one other individual every day. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, p 615)

Mastering some specific skills can make a huge difference in one’s ability to be creative (e.g., laying groundwork, visualizing a metaphor, allowing ideas to germinate and emerge without judgment until they have been captured in their entirety). (Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain. NC: The Ned Herrmann Group, 1989, 1993, pp 275-279)

Individuals who are aerobically fit may also have an intellectual edge. Exercise can improve creativity, concentration, and problem-solving abilities. (Bricklin, Mark, et al.Positive Living and Health. PA: Rodale Press, 1990, pp 25-26)

Study: teacher who was told she had a class of gifted children, when in fact she had an ordinary class. She tried hard to challenge her students. They scored higher than average on the same tests that had previously classified them as mediocre. They performed to her expectations. (von Oech, Roger. A Whack on the Side of the Head. CA: Creative Think, 1983, 1992, pp 160-161)

Extrinsic motivation has harmful effects on creativity. Eventually people begin to perform a given skill only when reward possibilities continue to be presented. Consistently, internal motivators yield higher performance than external motivators. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, pp 656-659, 745)

Fantasizing is something that everybody does but relative few people use. Creative adults learn how to use fantasy as a tool and how to control their imagination so that it works for them. (Williams, Linda. Teaching for the Two-Sided Mind. CA: Touchstone Books: 1986, pp 116-118)

Fatigued diminished creativity. Individuals who are tired tend to make errors, accomplish less, do things the long way, and miss seeing efficient shortcuts. (Cooper, Robert K., PhD., and Ayman Sawaf. Executive EQ. NY: Grosset/Putnam 1997, p 27)

Peak experiences sometimes referred to as flow (e.g., Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) or by others as being in the zone, have been associated with physiological changes in the body. These may include the release of adrenalin and endorphins, changes in metabolic rates, alteration in patterns of breathing and heart rate, an increase in alpha wave activity, increased energy, and so on. It comes about through a sense of doing something that feels perfectly natural. Aviator Wilbur Wright described it as a sensation of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost. (Robinson, Ken, PhD. The Element. p 90-96. NY: Penguin Books, 2009.)

Refer to Care of the Brain and Nutrition and the Brain for additional information.

Contemporary creativity is regarded by some as the exclusive province of the artistic. Creativity is also manifested, however, in ordinary forms (e.g., improvising in the course of an everyday activity). (Dickhut, Johanna E. A Brief Review of Creativity. (Accessed 2007.)

Suggests that we can improve our own creativity by taking full advantage of our own brain’s unique functioning. Gives examples, including shifting attention from one hemisphere to the other. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. NY: Harmony Books, 2001, pp 90-93)

Creative ideas are like a fragile bud. They mujst be nurtured so they can blossom. In many organizatgions when someone suggests a novel idea, the next person often shoots it down. Instead, nurture it. Look for a reason that could make it be a good idea. (Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 24-28. MA: More Than Sound, 2011)

The only differences in creative ability are that women tend to excel in verbal areas and men in spatial. (Stump, Jane Barr, PhD. What’s the Difference? NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1985, p 55)

Describes truly creative geniuses as people who have a passion to create a unique vision of reality and share it with the world. They usually have a tremendous capacity for absorption, concentration, and omnivalence. (Miller, Lawrence, PhD. Inner Natures. Brain, Self & Personality. NY: Ballantine Books, 1990, pp 270-290)

Creativity has not only made the human race unique in nature; what is more important for the individual, it gives value and purpose to human existence. Creativity requires more than technical skills and logical thought; it also needs the cultivation and collaboration of the appositional (right hemispheric specific processes) mind. Having two modes of thought so segregated is advantageous, depending on the extent to which the corpus callosum mediates the ideational, as well as the sensory-motor gap between the two sides of the brain. Put differently, possession of two independent problem-solving organs increases the prospects of a successful solution to a novel situation although it has the hazard of conflict in the event of different solutions. (Bogen, Joseph, Dr., and Glenda Bogen, The Other Side of the Brain III: The Corpus Callosum and Creativity.)

States that humor and the creative process are very similar. People who have a good sense of humor are generally more creative, even when approaching life’s problems. (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. MA: Simon & Schuster, 1996, pp 541-550)

Describes where and how to find ideas that will feed your creativity machine and keep it running. Lists five favorites: newspapers, magazines, and books; nature; children; hobbies; observation. (Farmer, Richard Allen. It Won’t Fly if You Don’t Try. MD: Review and Herald Graphics, 1996, pp 85-94)

Imagination, the primary gift of human consciousness, is the ability to bring to mind things that are not present to our senses. Creativity is applied imagination, putting your imagination to work. Innovation is applied creativity, putting new ideas into practice. Creativity is the process of having original ideas that have value. (Robinson, Ken, Sir, PhD. Out of Our Minds. p 141-143, 151. NY: Capstone Publishing Ltd, 2001, 2011)

Did you know that imagination forms the foundation for every uniquely human achievement? Creativity, progress, innovation, inventions, and so on all require imagination. As Ken Robinson PhD put it, through imagination you not only bring to mind things you have experienced, but things you have never experienced. You can conjecture, hypothesize, speculate, and suppose. Through imagination you can visit the past, contemplate, and present, and anticipate the future. You can also do something else that is both profound and of immense significance: you can create. Of all the brain’s capacities, the ability to imagine may be the one that most people tend to take for granted. That’s unfortunate. And yet imagination is different from creativity. Think of creativity as applied imagination, putting your imagination to work. Make something new, come up with new solutions to problems, think of new questions. Apply your imagination to every day living. (Robinson, Ken, PhD. p 65-70. NY: Penguin Books, 2009.)

The generalized female brain with prefrontal cortex differences and more integrated functions, tends to excel at envisioning future outcomes in innovative ways. (Fisher, Helen. The First Sex. NY: Random House, 1999, pp 22-24)

An active imagination is usually well developed in people who are survivors. It can bridge the conscious and subconscious minds. (Siebert, Al, PhD. The Survivor Personality. NY: A Perigee Book, 1996, pp 68-70)

Intelligence and creativity are blood relatives, according to Faith Ringgold, acclaimed artist and creator of painted story quilts. Everyone is born with tremendous capacities for creativity and the trick is to develop these capacities. You can be creative at anything at all--anything that involves your intelligence. You can't be creative without acting intelligently; the highest form of intelligence is to think creatively. (Robinson, Ken, PhD. The Element. p 51-56. NY: Penguin Books, 2009.)

The same intelligent memory actions that are used to solve problems can also generate creative ideas (e.g., finding new connections). Creative, artistic thinking is usually open-ended. (Gordon, Barry, MD, PhD, and Lisa Berger. Intelligent Memory. NY: Penguin Group, 2003, pp Xiv, 46, 158)

Intuition is a quick and ready insight. It involves attaining to direct knowledge or cognition with the evidence of rational thought and inference. (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. MA: Merriam-Webster Inc, 1993, p 615)

Intuition is a perception that is outside typical physical senses, a natural human ability, and a key dimension of both creativity and inspiration. It is closely tied to emotional intelligence. Intuition fuels When highly developed it tends to flow. The person doesn’t have to turn it on, per se. (Cooper, Robert K., PhD., and Ayman Sawaf.Executive EQ. NY: Grosset/Putnam 1997, pp 42-43, 209-214)

Suggests that creative problem solving can be jump-started by telling the person a joke. (Goleman, Daniel, PhD. Emotional Intelligence. NY: Bantam Books, 1995, pp 84-86)

Provides suggestions for ways to increase awareness of surroundings (e.g., If auditory, open or close ears; if visual close eyes and create images in your head, or concentrate on specifics in the environment). (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, pp 144-145)

It is important to understand the creative process and its component stages, to know what blocks each brain quadrant at each stage. It is possible to heighten one’s own creative awareness by choice. (Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain. NC: The Ned Herrmann Group, 1989, 1993, pp 184-185)

Laughter can increase one’s ability to be creative. (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001, p 143)

Studies: after viewing funny movies people were able to consider problems in new creative ways, and tended to find solutions with more innovation and ingenuity. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Health Pleasures. NY: Addison-Wesley, 1989, pp 218-220)

Refer to Laughter and the Brain for additional information.

Individuals with left-handed preference have a bias toward using the creative right hemisphere. There are a disproportionate number of left-handers among creative innovators and artistic geniuses. (Pease, Barbara and Allan. Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps. NY: Broadway Books, 1998, pp 46-47)

Some people are consciously making more time for creative leisure. (Fisher, Helen, PhD. The First Sex. NY: Random House, 1999, pp 102-103)

You create every day even if you aren’t doing anything “artistic.” Actions, objects, words, gestures—anything you influence by your choices is part of your creation. (Beck, Martha, PhD. The Joy Diet. NY: Crown Publishers, 2003, pp 68-70)

Magic works because the human brain has a hardwired process of attention and awareness "that is hackable." Magicians can hack your brain. At any given moment, most people are blocking out about 95% of what is going on around them. During a visual illusion, you may see something that isn't there, not see something that is, or see something that differs from what is there. Your brain's pereceptions contradict the physicial properties of what you see. (Macknik, Stephen L. PhD and Susana Martinez-Conde PhD. Sleights of Mind. p 6-10. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2010.)

There are huge differences between the way the business community thinks versus the creative community—and the different types of work that energize each. Provides examples of how each utilizes different portions of the brain. (Herrmann, Ned. The Whole Brain Business Book. NY: McGraw-Hill, 1996, pp 301-313)

Outlines natural cerebral mode preferences for individuals who control financial problem solving, analysis, and decision-making in the business community. Includes profile examples of individuals who are creative entrepreneurs. (Benziger, I. Katherine, PhD. Thriving in Mind. TX: KBA Publishing 2000, pp 91-103)

Meditation can be utilized as a tool to help one reach his/her innate creativity. (Bricklin, Mark, Mark Golin, et al. Positive Living and Health. PA: Rodale Press, 1990, p 376)

See Memory and the Brain for additional information.

Discusses ordinary memory versus intelligent memory, which can be improved by experience and strengthened with age. It can help one to solve problem, achieve insights, and think creatively. (Gordon, Barry, MD, PhD, and Lisa Berger. Intelligent Memory. NY: Penguin Group, 2003, pp xi-xiv)

The brain creates its own nonverbal imagery (e.g., sees without external visual input) through the "mind's eye.” (Givens, David B. Human Brain. Center for Nonverbal Studies. 1998-2005. Article.)

Watching television and videos tends to encourage mental passivity. The brain passively pictures what another brain has created. Listening to stories can do the opposite as the brain actively creates in the listener’s mind’s eye. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. NY: Dutton, 1998, pp 216-223)

Areas in the right temporal lobe (right neocortex) interpret metaphor and "get" jokes. It understands what Freud called the "primary process," the language of the unconscious, the language of poems, art, and myth. (Goleman, Daniel. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights. p 24-28. MA: More Than Sound, 2011)

Your creative ability has in origins in your unseen mind. You can form a thought or picture. Mental-picturing power is in the energy of attraction that is part of all creative processes. (Dyer, Wayne, PhD. Manifest Your Destiny. NY: HarperPaperbacks, 1997, pp 12-13, 72-74)

Describes characteristics of creative individual (e.g., interested in many things, may have difficulty staying on track, sense of humor). (Dossey, Larry, MD. Healing Beyond the Body. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2001, pp 143-149)

Discusses the use of music as a means of sharpening one’s creativity. (Restak, Richard, MD. Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot. NY: Harmony Books, 2001, pp 179-182)

Playing a musical instrument exercises coordination between eye and hand. It stimulates both the creative and logical parts of the brain and requires them to interact. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. PA: Rodale Press, 1990, p 402)

Three myths can be especially problematic. One: Only special people are creative. False. Every human brain contains tremendous capacities for creativity, although not every person develops those capacities. Two: Creativity involves special activities only, like art, design, or advertising. False. You can be creative at anything including math, science, engineering, sports, running, a business, and handling relationship. Three: The human brain is either creative or not. False. You can hone creativity skills and become increasingly creative in your life and work. Creativity and intelligence are first cousins, blood relatives. When you are acting creatively you tend to be acting intelligently. In a similar way, the highest form of intelligence is thinking creatively. (Robinson, Ken, PhD. p 54-60. NY: Penguin Books, 2009.)

Exposes several myths and states that three things are clear: All humans are capable of being creative; it’s not necessary to be a genius to be creative; and creativity can be re-accessed, stimulated, and developed. (Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain. NC: The Ned Herrmann Group, 1989, 1993, pp 182-184)

Studies: Alterations of norepinephrine and other neurotransmitters may affect the creative process. The minds of exceptionally creative people may be capable of regulating norepinephrine – to decrease levels during periods of creative innovation and pave the way for discovery of unanticipated associations. High levels of norepinephrine constrict the diversity of available concepts; low levels have the opposite effect. (Heilman, K. M. Creative Innovation: Possible Brain Mechanisms. 9(5):369-379. Neurocase. 2003.)

Studies: people involved in creative activities tend to have a greater incidence of psychopathology (e.g., mood disorders, bipolarity, major depressive disorder) as compared with the general population. (Fairweather, Elizabeth. Creativity and BipolarityAccessed 2007.)

Presents a 9-point plan to stimulate and nurture creative thinking. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, pp 364-369)

Dopamine levels increase in the brain during novel experiences, which can also increase testosterone levels. (Fisher, Helen. Why We Love. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004, pp 84-85)

Novelty helps to keep the brain challenged and stimulated. Exposure to novelty typically activates the dopamine pathways that are involved with reward areas in the brain. Resulting brain activity can result in new connections between concurrently active neurons. (Quartz, Steven R. PhD and Terrence J. Sejnowski PhD. Liars, Lovers, and Heroes. NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2002, p 245)

Results of cutting-edge nutritional research worldwide in a new medical specialty has shown how nutrients, vitamins, supplements, and other lifestyle factors can be utilized to increase one’s brain power, including creativity. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000, p xix)

It was painters, not scientists, who first figured out the rules of visual perspective and occlusion. Knowing these rules permitted painters to make pigments on a flat canvas appear like a beautiful landscape, rich in depth. Magicians are just a different type of artist. Instead of using color and form, they manipulate the brain’s attention and cognition. (Macknik, Stephen L. PhD and Susana Martinez-Conde PhD. Sleights of Mind. p 4-6. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2010.)

Robinson writes: “When people say to me that they are not creative, I assume that they haven’t yet learnt what is involved.” This is a paradox: most children think they’re highly creative; most adults think they’re not. This is a bigger issue than it may seem. Everyone has huge creative capacities. The challenge is to develop them. A culture of creativity has to involve everybody and not just a select few. (Robinson, Ken, Sir, PhD. Out of Our Minds. p 1-3. NY: Capstone Publishing Ltd, 2001, 2011)

Emphasizes the importance of persistence in creativity. Tells the story of two frogs that fell into a vat of cream... (von Oech, Roger. A Whack on the Side of the Head. CA: Creative Think, 1983, 1992, pp 182-183)

Reports on studies that showed when adults have something to play with (e.g., something to do with their hands), their minds can come up with highly creative ideas. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, pp 368-369)

Those who say the glass is half empty are dealing with a mental abstraction of emptiness and lack. The optimist is describing a measure of physical reality, a substance that is actually in the glass. (Zander, Rosamund Stone, and Benjamin Zander. The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life. NY: Penguin (Non-Classisc), 2002.)

Highly creative works of art are appreciated because they break or violate the predictions of the audience and creates a contradictory tension. Creativity involves mixing and matching patterns of everything you’ve ever experienced. (Hawkins, Jeff, with Sandra Blakeslee. On Intelligence. NY: Owl Books, 2004, pp 186-187)

Study: participants were better able to solve problems with ingenuity and innovation after viewing funny movies. (Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD. Healthy Pleasures. MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing, 1989, pp 217-219)

Outlines characteristics of professors who inhibit creativity versus those who facilitate it in their students. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, pp 612-613)

Studies: people involved in creative activities tend to have a greater incidence of psychopathology (e.g., mood disorders, bipolarity, major depressive disorder) as compared with the general population. (Fairweather, Elizabeth. Creativity and BipolarityAccessed 2007.)

The Intrinsic Motivation Principle of Creativity: People will be most creative when they feel motivated primarily by the interest, enjoyment, satisfaction, and challenge of the work itself, and not by external pressures or inducements. (Amabile, Teresa M. and Leslie A. Perlow. Time Pressure and Creativity: Why Time is Not on Your Side. Article.)

The right hemisphere may be in closer touch with the emotional feeling centers in the limbic system. A positive emotional climate is essential for creativity. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. NY: Doubleday, 1987, 1989, pp 335-336)

Successful people fail more (e.g., 90% of jokes written for successful comedians are discarded). (Beck, Martha, PhD. The Joy Diet. NY: Crown Publishers, 2003, pp 72-73)

Shakespeare’s metaphors are “the paragon of creativity” (e.g., There’s daggers in men’s smiles, Love is smoke made with the fume of sighs). They are very hard to invent, which is one reason Shakespeare is regarded as a literary genius. (Hawkins, Jeff, with Sandra Blakeslee. On Intelligence. NY: Owl Books, 2004, pp 186-187)

Intuitive flow is described as a sixth sense. The signs of flow include a feeling of spontaneous challenge and elation, and even, on occasion, rapture. People can choose to experience this state more often but most don’t. (Cooper, Robert K., PhD., and Ayman Sawaf. Executive EQ. NY: Grosset/Putnam 1997, pp 209-212)

Creativity is a developed skill. Use it or lose it. It is like any other skill. Practice or it atrophies. (Bricklin, Mark, Mark Golin, et al. Positive Living and Health. PA: Rodale Press, 1990, p 384)

A lack of sleep can decrease one’s concentration and block. (Tortora, Gerard J., and Sandra R. Grabowski. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003, p 795)

The brain is the source of creativity. Multiple regions of the brain are involved, too. Not just one part, but all of it. (Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain. NC: The Ned Herrmann Group, 1989, 1993, pp 186-187)

Life is pure creative energy. Creativity is a spiritual experience: creativity leads to spirituality or spirituality leads to creativity. (Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way. NY: Jeremy p. Tarcher/Putnam, 1992, pp 1-3)

Outlines four stages of the creative process, according to Graham Wallas: preparation, incubation, inspiration, and evaluation. (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, pp 601-604)

Describes Graham Wallas’ four-stage process of creativity:

  • Preparation
  • Incubation
  • Illumination
  • Verification

(Herrmann, Ned. The Creative Brain. NC: The Ned Herrmann Group, 1989, 1993, pp 188-189)

Outlines four stages of creative problem solving: Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. NY: Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003, pp 366-368)

Four recognized stages of creativity include:

  • Preparation (information is absorbed)
  • Incubation (information coalesces)
  • Illumination (a solution appears)
  • Verification (solution is expressed)

(Schramm, Derek D., PhD. The Creative Brain. p 3-5. CA:Institute for Natural Resources, Health Update. 2007.)

Summarizes several caveats related to creativity in young children (e.g., ability grouping benefits only higher-ability students, parents/teacher expectations significantly determine creativity, teachers tend to wrongly perceive boys as having the greatest variability in creativity, more information classrooms generate more creativity). (Howard, Pierce J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. GA: Bard Press, 2000, pp 612-614)

Stories help people make sense out of the world. In fact, people dream stories. They give life to past experience, help build intellect, enable one to grasp and retain information more easily, and can educate heart and mind. (Trelease, Jim. The Read-Aloud Handbook. NY: Penguin Books, Fifth Edition, 2001, pp 56-57)

The experience of stories can lead to the development of imagination that is utilized in a wide range of intellectual activities and required for all types of problem-solving. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. NY: Simon & Schuster, 1990, pp 92-93)

Studies: when children listened to stories (e.g., on radio and made pictures in their mind’s eye) they created more imaginative endings and details then when they watched stories on television/video. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. NY: A Dutton Book 1998, pp 220-222)

Stanford studies: chronic stress can cause neurons to lose their dendritic branches and eventually die off completely with symptoms such as poor memory, fuzzy thinking, and lack of creativity. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. NY: A Dutton Book 1998, pp 80-82)

Refer to Stress and the Brain for additional information.

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