The Real Neuroscience of Creativity
So yea, you know how the left brain is really realistic, analytical, practical, organized, and logical, and the right brain is so darn creative, passionate, sensual, tasteful, colorful, vivid, and poetic? No.
Scott Barry Kaufman
Notes that a group of cutting edge cognitive neuroscientists are debunking left brain right brain mythologies including: Rex Jung, Darya Zabelina, Andreas Fink, John Kounios, Mark Beeman, Kalina Christoff, Oshin Vartanian, Jeremy Gray, and Hikaru Takeuchi.
They are looking for the truly complex nature of the creative mind and generative processes. Clearly, the right side is not solely responsible for creative processes.
Neuroscientists are able to prove this using brain imaging technology such as the fMRI. Creative processes are made up of a complex of interrelated cognition and emotion. Depending on the nature and stage of the creative idea, different regions are relied upon more heavily.
The vision of these regions working together is much more like a team involving left and right hemispheres of the brain.
Dependent upon the nature of the task and the stage you are in the process, several main networks are drawn upon:
- "Attentional Control Network" engages when the elements of a task requires laser-like concentration, creativity involving problem solving, reasoning, and working memory. This requires team work of the outer regions of the prefrontal cortex and the back of the parietal lobe.
- "Imagination Network" is employed when the mind requires complex and changing simulations that tap into remembered experiences, speculation about the future, and visions of unique points of view and possibilities. Imagining what might happen in the future is an example of this type of creativity, and the brain needs collaboration between deep areas in the prefrontal cortex and temporal lobe, as well as as inner and outer areas of the parietal cortex.
- "Attentional Flexibility Network" is at work with both internal and external creative experiences, dynamically directing the brain between the two previous networks. This network makes decisions about the use of either of these two, based upon which appears to be most important to developing a solution to a specific problem. The network uses the brain's dorsal anterior cingulate cortices and anterior insular, which flexibly shift activity in one direction or the other.
The exciting aspect of this research is that it is a starting point to better understanding.
Darin's note: I highly recommend that you look to the original article for further information, especially graphic depictions of the brain regions discussed. There are also many useful links to original research papers for even more depth.
Interested? Click the title or image to read on.
Source is ScientificAmerican.com
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