Monday, August 18, 2014

Secrets of the creative brain

There was a recent good article on creativity,Secrets of the creative brain.  A related blog post, The Psycholpathology of Genius.

We are actively working on the genetic basis of complex traits and the most complex is obviously creativity and intelligence. According to the threshold theory, Creativity is not IQ only and a score of 120 is the threshold. Lower or much higher than than that may hurt creativity.

Some quotes from Secrets of the creative brain:

One possible contributory factor is a personality style shared by many of my creative subjects. These subjects are adventuresome and exploratory. They take risks. Particularly in science, the best work tends to occur in new frontiers. (As a popular saying among scientists goes: “When you work at the cutting edge, you are likely to bleed.”) 

I’ve been struck by how many of these people refer to their most creative ideas as “obvious.” Since these ideas are almost always the opposite of obvious to other people, creative luminaries can face doubt and resistance when advocating for them. As one artist told me, “The funny thing about [one’s own] talent is that you are blind to it. You just can’t see what it is when you have it … When you have talent and see things in a particular way, you are amazed that other people can’t see it.” Persisting in the face of doubt or rejection, for artists or for scientists, can be a lonely path—one that may also partially explain why some of these people experience mental illness.

One interesting paradox that has emerged during conversations with subjects about their creative processes is that, though many of them suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, they associate their gifts with strong feelings of joy and excitement. “Doing good science is simply the most pleasurable thing anyone can do,” one scientist told me. “It is like having good sex. It excites you all over and makes you feel as if you are all-powerful and complete.” This is reminiscent of what creative geniuses throughout history have said. 

Many creative people are autodidacts. 

Many creative people are polymaths, as historic geniuses including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were

Creative people tend to be very persistent, even when confronted with skepticism or rejection. 

Some people see things others cannot, and they are right, and we call them creative geniuses. Some people see things others cannot, and they are wrong, and we call them mentally ill. And some people, like John Nash, are both.

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