In our last article we discussed creative theory in the context of sociology and psychology. Today we are going to examine our neurological understanding of creativity and creative processes within the brain!
Brain imaging done on participants while they engage in a creative paradigm shows that the hippocampus (which is involved in memory creation and storage) and the Default Mode Network (a collection of brain regions that activate by “default” when you are not focussing on external stimuli, but rather focussing on internal stimuli, such as wandering thoughts) (Dhikav & Anand, 2012; Penttila, 2020; Tiego et al., 2018). This data suggests that our episodic memory (our memory of events that have happened to us) as well as our ability to introspect are both crucial to our creative capacities (Penttila, 2020).
Now the age old question is: How can I boost my own creativity? Well, there are actually several ways in which you can strengthen these creative networks. The first thing you must do is realize that EVERYBODY is creative! Even if the ways in which you are personally creative don’t match up with societal expectations, you ARE still creative! With that out of the way let’s talk about concrete ways you can be more creative on-demand. As we discussed, the brain networks that help us to think creatively are heavily connected to introspection and memory. Taking time to think about past events, moments in your life, and the ways in which specific experiences made you feel, all help to get that creative brain going! Additionally, mindful activities are perfect for creativity as they engage your Default Mode Network and help to remove emotional blocks to the creative process (Rothschild, 2014; Simon & Engstrom, 2015)!