Posts Tagged ‘psychology’
Changing Education Paradigms, Sir Ken Robinson
Understanding the creative mind is certainly a very difficult and abstract topic. To simply put it, creativity is most easily considered in terms of outcomes, e.g. dramatic improvisation and artistic artefacts, but also innovative business ideas and scientific breakthroughs.
Creative thinking is a complex thought process that calls upon many different cognitive functions and and involves many many different regions distributed throughout the brain. There is no single part of our brain responsible for our creativity.
There are certainly no step-by-step instructions for having a good idea, yet multiple psychology reports suggest that our ability to think creatively is influenced by many things, including the environment in which we are surrounded by.
- Creativity is often regarded as something that is purely spontaneous and less compliant to a teacher’s influence than skills such as planning, calculating and communicating. However, teachers can play a critical role in fostering creative thinking processes through the use of environment and strategy.
- When we visualise, our brain activity can resemble that associated with real experience. This suggests visualisation is a potentially powerful educational tool. For example, enhancement of generative thinking can be achieved through visualising changes in context.
- Creative thinking may depend on our ability to use a range of cognitive processes in different ways and crucially, to move between these ways as appropriate.
Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. Seriously, his talks are awe-inspiring, watch them here!
Dr Paul Howard-Jones, Fostering creative thinking: co-constructed insights from the neuroscience and education
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’.
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.
Mark A. Smith Ph.D, Creativity and IQ