What is Creativity
Alright, so I want to start with a little bit of cognitive literacy and I want to start with, "What is not creativity?" Now, before we get into that, I want to mention that my wife and I run an animal sanctuary and my wife is in charge of medical diagnostics. So whenever the dogs get sick, she's the one who has to figure it out. It is one of the most creative processes I've ever seen. She's diagnosing illnesses in dogs. It's a massively creative process. The reason I'm mentioning this is there is nothing that I can think of that is not creative. Maybe if you're an accountant it's a little different. Especially if you're a tax accountant. Creativity tends to get you arrested but besides that, right? Not the world's most creative profession unless you want to go to jail. Other than that there is no such thing as a non creative profession as far as I can tell, alright? It all requires creativity. More importantly, across the boards, 21st century skills, which are the skills we need to thr...
ive in this current century, creativity tops every single list. Most important skill for CEOs, most important skill for kids. Across the boards, creativity is how we succeed in the 21st century. That said, what is not creativity? A lot of what you've probably heard about the neuroscience of creativity is probably wrong. So let's dispel some of those notions. That's where we're gonna start. Right brain, left brain? No such thing. There is no creative side to the brain. What we know about creativity is that it involves a bunch of different networks in the brain. So when we are being creative, we are actually using more of our brain. And we'll go deeper into this, but the whole notion that there's a right brain and it's the creative brain, and there's a left brain and it's the logical brain, totally ridiculous. Putting it in context, when I am writing a paragraph, right? Maybe coming up with what's inside the paragraph conceptually, that's a right brain, more intuitive process. But ordering my sentences, which is my logical progression, that is left brain logical creativity and you're going to need both sides of it. So no such thing as right brain or left brain. Divulge that notion. That was the wrong word but we'll just skip over that. (audience laughing) Convergent thinking, which is when ideas come together, logical linear, often considered not creative. Divergent thinking, wild, far-flung, pattern recognition, often considered creative, once again, no such thing. So what creativity actually is that for the best of what we know, is an interplay of three different brain networks. The default node network, the executive attention network, and the salience network. The default mode network is sometimes called the imagination network. Default node network is when you're daydreaming, when ideas are sort of linking together in a creative way and you're not too attached to how they're doing, rumination. This is what the default mode network does. It's a tricky network. It is high default mode network activity, very highly correlated with creativity. Also very highly correlated with depression. So we're gonna talk about how to use rumination; how to use the default mode network positively without getting sucked into all the negativity. And it's tricky. The executive attention network is what allows you to focus. It's what everybody's using right now to listen to me. When we are creative, because the executive attention network also includes your inner critic, that nagging, always on, defeat us, voice in your head, it gets turned down a little bit. Not all the way. You still, obviously, need to focus to be creative, but it actually dials down whereas the default mode network gets more active. Salience. You guys know that means? Salience basically means paying attention. So the salience network, information comes into the brain; tons of it. The salience network matches that incoming information with what it is that you're doing, the task at hand. So it tells you what to pay attention to based on the stuff that's coming into your brain. Interestingly, with creatives, one of the things that they find across the boards with the creative personality type, is creatives are less able to filter out stimuli. So extreme sensitivity to noise, to light, to sound, anything like that. It's because the salience network in creatives doesn't quite work like it works in everybody else. You have a difficult time filtering out more stimulation. That's fantastic because the more novel information coming into the brain, that's the seed kernel of creativity. We'll come back to all this stuff. This is just a quick and dirty place to start.