Enhance Creativity in Australia

Posts Tagged ‘creative process

Creative inspirations are often reported to emerge spontaneously, especially when we are not distracted or focusing on the problem at hand. Knowing how to generate these “insight moments” are an important component of creativity for better problem solving and innovative solutions.

It is known as the ‘eureka’ or ‘aha’ moment. Many ‘eureka’ moments are emerged at the unlikeliest of places, whether it be in the bathtub (for Archimedes the mathematician), or at a strip club (Richard Feynman was known to scribble equations there). It can be said that “Creativity is the residue of time wasted”.

A relaxed and positive mood enhances the brain activity required for the ‘aha’ moment to take place in our brain. Pleasure can play a big part in this process as it can enhance positive mood.

Evolution has developed areas in our brain with the purpose of providing us with a pleasurable sensation, what neuroscientists call the “reward circuit”. It is the Nucleus Accumbens, part of this circuit which provides the motivation and passion to what we want to do.

This chemical is called Dopamine (also known as the chemical of desire) is released when we enjoy or about to enjoy something. So we feel good!  It can be seen as a direct correlation between how pleasure affects our creative brain; that is, when we are happy and we feel good, our brains are more open and relaxed, which will in turn allow us to think more clearly and perhaps get that moment of insight.

As Daniel Pink states

“The future belongs to…creators and empathisers, pattern recognisers and meaning-makers. These people… will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”

Everyone has the capacity to be creative!


Check out the BrainArt Project, to spread the word about “Life Pleasures & the Brain” through various artistic forms, the project is about awaking, learning and balancing this aspect of our lives. Nurturing creativity through exploring our pleasures.

An interesting article on Eureka Moments by Silvis Damiano


There is little evidence about left brain vs right brain and creativity. Theories of  left-brain/right brain learning theories are not based on credible science and most certainly unhelpful in understanding creativity when used to categorise individuals. But have you ever heard of convergent thinking and divergent thinking?

Psychologist J.P. Guilford first invented the terms convergent thinking and divergent thinking‘ back in 1967.

Convergent thinking is the ability to the ability to apply rules to arrive at a single ‘correct’ solution to a problem such as the answer to an IQ test problem. This process is systematic and linear.

Divergent thinking (or sometimes ‘lateral thinking’) is the process of generating multiple related ideas for a given topic or solutions to a problem. Divergent thinking occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘non-linear’ manner.

There is good evidence that divergent thinking is what creative problem solving depends on!

Traditionally creativity has been understood in terms of the accessibility of concepts in our long term memory systems so divergent thinking tasks have been widely used. Concepts are connected in our brains in ‘semantic networks’.

Here is an example of a semantic network, with each concept ‘node’ of the network accessible from the concept ‘street’ via other node:

Individual differences in creativity are due to differences in whether these kinds of associative networks were ‘steep’ or ‘flat’, psychologists have proposed.

Those with ‘flat’ networks have numerous and loose conceptual connections, enabling them to be more creative.

Those with ‘steep’ networks tend to have more logical, linear associations between nodes.

Below is an image of someone with a flat network which quickly and creatively hops – node to node – from peacock to Rolls Royce. Something someone ‘linear’ in their thinking would struggle with.


Mark A. Smith Ph.D, Creativity and IQ

Enhance Creativity in Australia

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