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Secrets of CREATIVITY Bidisha Sengupta. CREATIVITY: A Neuroscientist’s View The ability to produce work that is novel (original & unexpected) and appropriate.

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Presentation on theme: "Secrets of CREATIVITY Bidisha Sengupta. CREATIVITY: A Neuroscientist’s View The ability to produce work that is novel (original & unexpected) and appropriate."— Presentation transcript:

1 Secrets of CREATIVITY Bidisha Sengupta

2 CREATIVITY: A Neuroscientist’s View The ability to produce work that is novel (original & unexpected) and appropriate (useful, adaptive considering task constrainst) The ability to produce work that is novel (original & unexpected) and appropriate (useful, adaptive considering task constrainst) Ability to break conventional pattern of thinking, adapt new or higher order of combinations and think conceptually and abstractly Ability to break conventional pattern of thinking, adapt new or higher order of combinations and think conceptually and abstractly Not a mysterious concept, integrated with normal mental process and hence, explainable by Neuroscience Not a mysterious concept, integrated with normal mental process and hence, explainable by Neuroscience Assumption: Neural circuits involved in creative thinking, same as that of noncreative thinking Assumption: Neural circuits involved in creative thinking, same as that of noncreative thinking Prefrontal cortex: Central structure for creative thinking Prefrontal cortex: Central structure for creative thinking

3 BRAIN STRUCTURE FRONTAL LOBE PARIETAL LOBE TEMPORAL LOBE OCCIPITAL LOBE

4 TOP (Temporal-Occipital-Parietal) Lobe: Responsible for processing information and storing them for long term TOP (Temporal-Occipital-Parietal) Lobe: Responsible for processing information and storing them for long term Frontal Lobe: Integrates highly processed information, processes to still higher cognitive functions ( self-consciousness, social behavior, planning, abstract thinking etc.), not directly connected to sensors Frontal Lobe: Integrates highly processed information, processes to still higher cognitive functions ( self-consciousness, social behavior, planning, abstract thinking etc.), not directly connected to sensors Two parts of Frontal Lobe functional in Creativity: Two parts of Frontal Lobe functional in Creativity: Prefrontal cortex: Anterior half of frontal lobe, stores short term memory (working memory), supports sustained attention, processing of informationPrefrontal cortex: Anterior half of frontal lobe, stores short term memory (working memory), supports sustained attention, processing of information Attentional system: Search Engine, selectively filters content in working memory according to person’s values and cultureAttentional system: Search Engine, selectively filters content in working memory according to person’s values and culture

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6 Creativity Process Creativity occurs in two ways: Creativity occurs in two ways: Through Deliberate thinkingThrough Deliberate thinking SpontaneouslySpontaneously DELIBERATE CREATIVE THINKING DELIBERATE CREATIVE THINKING Attentional system of Prefrontal cortex ‘pulls’ task relevant information consistent with the person’s own values, culture and experience, from long term storage in TOPAttentional system of Prefrontal cortex ‘pulls’ task relevant information consistent with the person’s own values, culture and experience, from long term storage in TOP Working memory temporarily stores the informationWorking memory temporarily stores the information Prefrontal cortex uses its cognitive flexibity and abilities to superimpose the online information to form new combinationsPrefrontal cortex uses its cognitive flexibity and abilities to superimpose the online information to form new combinations More nimble the prefrontal cortex, more capable it is of playing with new combinationsMore nimble the prefrontal cortex, more capable it is of playing with new combinations

7 SPONTANEOUS CREATIVE THINKING SPONTANEOUS CREATIVE THINKING More often, creative thinking occurs during diminished mental arousal(ex: Sleep)More often, creative thinking occurs during diminished mental arousal(ex: Sleep) Not initiated by prefrontal database searches, thoughts unguided by societal norms and conventional rationalityNot initiated by prefrontal database searches, thoughts unguided by societal norms and conventional rationality Loosely connected association of thoughts due to unsystematic drifting and gathering of thoughtsLoosely connected association of thoughts due to unsystematic drifting and gathering of thoughts Entails and element of chanceEntails and element of chance Underlying mechanism for creative thoughts occuring during sleepUnderlying mechanism for creative thoughts occuring during sleep Explains intuitionExplains intuition

8 Dreaming: Extreme form of Spontaneous creativity Dreaming: Extreme form of Spontaneous creativity Involves flow of unregulated, unlimited combination formations unassociated to conventional wisdomInvolves flow of unregulated, unlimited combination formations unassociated to conventional wisdom Can give out insights, otherwise difficult to come byCan give out insights, otherwise difficult to come by Knowledge: Mainly not related to creativity. Primarily stored in TOP areas, creativity in Frontal area Knowledge: Mainly not related to creativity. Primarily stored in TOP areas, creativity in Frontal area Doesn’t constitute creativityDoesn’t constitute creativity Person with encyclopedic memory might not be creative enough to use it Person with encyclopedic memory might not be creative enough to use it

9 Creativity: Sudden Flash? Or Chain of Thoughts? 3Bs (Bath-tub, Bed, Bus): Places where ideas suddenly and famously emerge!! 3Bs (Bath-tub, Bed, Bus): Places where ideas suddenly and famously emerge!! In 1990, a team of NASA scientists was trying to fix the distorted lenses in the Hubble telescope In 1990, a team of NASA scientists was trying to fix the distorted lenses in the Hubble telescope Already in orbit. An expert in optics suggested that tiny inversely distorted mirrors could correct the images, but nobody could figure out how to fit them into the hard-to-reach space inside. Engineer Jim Crocker, while taking a shower, noticed the European-style showerhead mounted on adjustable rods.Already in orbit. An expert in optics suggested that tiny inversely distorted mirrors could correct the images, but nobody could figure out how to fit them into the hard-to-reach space inside. Engineer Jim Crocker, while taking a shower, noticed the European-style showerhead mounted on adjustable rods. Realized the Hubble's little mirrors could be extended into the telescope by mounting them on similar folding arms. And this flash was the key to fixing the problemRealized the Hubble's little mirrors could be extended into the telescope by mounting them on similar folding arms. And this flash was the key to fixing the problem

10 On Dec. 8, 1903, Samuel Pierpont Langley, a leading government- funded scientist, launched flying machine which plummeted into the river On Dec. 8, 1903, Samuel Pierpont Langley, a leading government- funded scientist, launched flying machine which plummeted into the river Nine days later, Orville and Wilbur Wright got the first plane off the ground Nine days later, Orville and Wilbur Wright got the first plane off the ground Langley failed because he hired other people to execute his concept Langley failed because he hired other people to execute his concept Studying the Wrights' diaries, it can be observed that insight and execution are inextricably woven together Studying the Wrights' diaries, it can be observed that insight and execution are inextricably woven together Over years, problem solving like wing shape and wing twisting, each adjustment involved a small spark of insight that led to others Over years, problem solving like wing shape and wing twisting, each adjustment involved a small spark of insight that led to others

11 Does Brain activity differ for Creative and Non- Creative? Study led by John Kounios, professor of Psychology at Drexel University and Mark Jung-Beeman of Northwestern University compared the brain activity of creative and noncreative problem solvers Study led by John Kounios, professor of Psychology at Drexel University and Mark Jung-Beeman of Northwestern University compared the brain activity of creative and noncreative problem solvers Results: Results: Creative thinkers use right side of the brain more actively, during problem solving and rest alsoCreative thinkers use right side of the brain more actively, during problem solving and rest also Creative thinkers showed diffused visual attention while methodical thinkers showed focused visual attentionCreative thinkers showed diffused visual attention while methodical thinkers showed focused visual attention

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13 Tell me the color of the words rapidly!!

14 “ Take risks, and expect to make lots of mistakes, because creativity is a numbers game. Work hard, and take frequent breaks, but stay with it over time. Do what you love, because creative breakthroughs take years of hard work. Develop a network of colleagues, and schedule time for freewheeling, unstructured discussions. Most of all, forget those romantic myths that creativity is all about being artsy and gifted and not about hard work. They discourage us because we're waiting for that one full-blown moment of inspiration. And while we're waiting, we may never start working on what we might someday create” -Washington University psychologist R. Keith Sawyer

15 THANK YOU


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