We live with mysteries too marvelous to understand. How two hands touch and a bond is formed, how people come from delight or the scars of damage to the comfort of a poem, that is when human creativity steps in as the answer.
The quest for good and bad in art is inherently tainted by our biases which makes the world an unreliable critic for the wide palette of mysteries. But the narrative that some people are more creative than others has always stuck with us due to this very reason.
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone, and not just creative “geniuses” like Picasso and Steve Jobs, possess in some capacity.
According to researchers, creative tasks range from little-c creativity– making a website, crafting a birthday present or coming up with a funny joke to Big-C creativity- writing a speech, composing a poem or designing a scientific experiment.
We have heard the myth that the right part of the brain is more artistic compared to the left part. The reality is that creativity involves an interaction of lots of brain networks that rely on both the left and right sides of the brain.
How does the brain produce such creative thoughts?
‘High Creative’ network in the brain region consists of three specific brain systems, the default, salience and executive networks. These help in the complex interplay between spontaneous and controlled thinking.
The default network is a set of brain regions that activates when people are engaged in spontaneous thinking, such as mind-wandering, daydreaming and imagining. This network plays a key role in idea generation or brainstorming.
The executive control network activates when people need to focus or control their thought processes. It plays a key role in idea evaluation. On the contrary salience network acts as a switching mechanism between the default and executive networks.
Generally, these three networks don’t get activated at the same time but research suggests that creative people are able to co-activate brain networks that usually work separately.
Further research is still going on to determine if these networks are malleable or relatively fixed. For example, does taking drawing classes lead to greater connectivity within these brain networks? Or is it possible to boost creative thinking ability by modifying network connections?
What do you think? Can creativity be cultivated or are people born with it?
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