Jul 18, 2019
Your Innovation Podcast. This is the 39th episode of the Driving Eureka! Podcast. This week the latest research on neuroscience and Creativity. Subscribe to learn how to Find Filter and Fast Track Big Ideas.
The Driving Eureka! podcast - Episode 39
New Neuroscience Research on Creativity
Study 1: Creativity and Your Brain Networks
Research Study 2: Openness, Intelligence and Creativity
Tripp: [00:00:00] This is the Driving Eureka! podcast, episode 39 in this episode. Neuroscience, research and creativity are discussed.
Tripp: [00:00:14] The Driving Eureka! podcast with Doug Hall and Tripp Babbitt is sponsored by the Eureka Ranch. The Ranch specializes in helping companies find filter and fast track big ideas.
Tripp: [00:00:29] Hi, I'm Tripp Babbitt, and this week Doug Hall is decidedly off the grid, so I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about neuroscience and creativity and I wanted to hit upon this subject because I do a podcast called Mind Your Noodles, which is how do we apply neuroscience and some of the research and application that's going on that is really advanced over the last 10 years to build a brain friendly organization. And I thought, well, I could do one podcast episode and leverage it both for the Driving Eureka! podcast as well as my Mind Your Noodles podcast that I do.
Tripp: [00:01:19] And I wasn't sure what is going to do it on. I started with maybe criteria for coming up with what consulting firm you might use for innovation.
Tripp: [00:01:33] I looked at how culture affects an innovation and I finally decided that some of the research that's been done in neuroscience and creativity in the last 18 months.
Tripp: [00:01:50] So this is relatively new research was interesting enough to do an episode on.
Tripp: [00:01:55] So let's start there's a couple of research studies that have been done that I found fascinating and one of them involved a hundred and sixty three subjects and they were using what's called a Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging system, which basically detects the changes in your blood flow in your brain.
Tripp: [00:02:26] And this has some flaws associated with an fMRI. But the advances and use of it have been improving as time goes by. And one of the things that they did in this research with these under sixty three subjects was they would give the subjects an object.
Tripp: [00:02:48] And it's an everyday thing, like a knife, a brick, a rope are three of the things that they used. And they would give the person 12 seconds to come up with a creative, creative idea for it.
Tripp: [00:03:04] And. The creative types they found.
Tripp: [00:03:11] Were engaging three distinct brain networks that are what they now say, our networks that are key to creative thinking.
Tripp: [00:03:22] So there is one called the default network, which is really no activity in your brain. Brainstorming and daydreaming. That type of thing where the neurons are firing very low. And that that particular network there is one called the executive control network, which has to do with focus, which is kind of the opposite of the default network. And then there is one called the salience network, which detects things. You know, what things are you going to notice and what things are you're not going to notice in the environment and also helps it in switching between this executive where you're really focused and this default network where your brain is just kind of inactive.
Tripp: [00:04:11] Normally, these three networks don't function together.
Tripp: [00:04:17] But for people who are very creative, they seem to work together fairly well, they that we're able to come up with more ideas in this 12 seconds of looking at a particular object and coming up with other uses for it.
Tripp: [00:04:34] So a creative person is able to engage these three different networks. Effectively and efficiently.
Tripp: [00:04:45] Now, here's an interesting thing. And if you all think that Doug whores a little nuts and you think it might be associated with the Whisk(e)y company has well hit, this additional study kind of describes Doug and some of the things.
Tripp: [00:05:05] So one of the things that they found in these studies of these three networks is that it's a combination of genetics and experience. But here's the thing I found pretty fascinating and Doug would probably laugh at this.
Tripp: [00:05:21] But people with bipolar or are schizophrenic or have other neuro psychiatric illnesses tend to be more creative.
Tripp: [00:05:33] So I thought that fits Doug to a T. The ability to move between these three networks has shown to be in the genetics now. Now here's some other findings about these three networks. Children can become more creative by just watching someone be creative, watching a fantasy film. Having unstructured play can give children new insights, analytical thinking and greater creativity. But this isn't just for children having habits like writing new ideas down, trying new things.
Tripp: [00:06:20] Regular study of unfamiliar subjects all can foster creativity and now in mind, minor noodles podcasts. I also talk about other things that affect the brain. So if you're getting enough sleep, that helps in your creativity. If you're spending time outdoors, the dog tucked in an earlier episode of the science of Innovation about light and of those types of things increasing creativity. So spending time outdoors in the sun, having all those types of things stimulates your ability to be creative.
Tripp: [00:06:59] And just having sessions on a regular basis for creating new ideas.
Tripp: [00:07:05] Now, interestingly, some of the conclusions from some of the researchers that creativity does require some effort and method, a way of going about doing that enhances your ability to be able to be more creative. And that's one of the things that with regards to the innovation engineering system and in the end system, it puts a method in for you to be able to be creative.
Tripp: [00:07:37] One other note that I made on some of the research was always having something to do actually reduces creativity. Creative types should welcome boredom and reduce multi tasking. This engages your your creative networks.
Tripp: [00:08:00] In another study, there were a hundred and eighty five participants and they were looking into two traits that are often looked at together and that is openness and intellect. So what are the things they look for?
Tripp: [00:08:15] Is the thickness of your cerebral cortex. Now, the cerebral cortex is this thin layer of the brain that basically covers the outer portions, about one and a half to five millimeters.
Tripp: [00:08:29] And it covers the cerebrum.
Tripp: [00:08:33] Now, the function of the cerebral cortex is basically a.
Tripp: [00:08:39] Determining intelligence, determine your personality, your motor function, planning an organization, touch sensation, processing sensory information and language processing, and the belief was that you would have a thick cerebral cortex if you were more open and intellectual.
Tripp: [00:09:02] But this research found when they looked at these separately that there was no court, no correlation between the cerebral cortex, thickness and intelligence. And with regards to openness, there was a negative correlation between the thickness of the cerebral cortex and. Openness, meaning it wasn't thicker.
Tripp: [00:09:31] So the results support a theory of creativity. Now we got to remember a theory that that doesn't mean theory is never proven. There are finding with some of the research that they're doing that it supports the theory of what's called cognitive dis inhibition. And that means basically creativity is a result of reduced control over your thoughts.
Tripp: [00:10:00] Now, this concept of cognitive dis innovation is something that it's kind of funny. We think of Donald Trump calling himself a stable genius.
Tripp: [00:10:15] Well, there is an article that I read by was researching this that basically said, if you think you're a genius, you're crazy. So it's oxymoron to be a stable genius.
Tripp: [00:10:28] But let's just take cognitive dis inhibition as. Having people with a screw loose or some degree of eccentricity now some people dispute this and they have to basically pieces of evidence that they they point to and that that a number of creative geniuses and the entire history of civilization is very large. And the second reason that they point to as evidence is that permanent inhabitants of mental asylums do not usually produce creative masterworks.
Tripp: [00:11:11] However, the research suggests that there is a connection between madness and creativity and creative genius. Or cognitive dis inhibition.
Tripp: [00:11:29] Is really the tendency to pay attention to things that normally should be ignored or filtered out by attention. Because they appear irrelevant and that operational definition came from a doctor s h Carson. So as I did this research, almost all of the research that I read and the people theoretically did say this, that, yes, there is some degree of genetics, there's some degree of experience that goes into being creative, but that it can be learned.
Tripp: [00:12:10] It's something that you can get better at. And so I have identified some things from my reading that can increase your creativity. And here's nine of them observation skills, getting better at observing what's going around in your environment. Changing your environment is number two. The third thing is by walking or doing some type of exercise, this improves your brain function and increases your creativity. Been more curious and been intentional about it. Number five, dream without limitations and said to set aside time to do it. Six customer in thinking.
Tripp: [00:13:02] So design thinking is one of those things where you have empathy for the customer, but just putting yourself in the place of someone else can stimulate your creativity. You can practice creating as number seven by doing it again intentionally. A reader watch fiction. I used to never read any fiction just because I thought it was kind of pointless. But reading or watching fiction can actually help improve your creativity. And then the ninth thing is something I did talk about with a lady by the name of Annie Lacroix in an episode where we were talking about stress and exercise and sleep. But is mindfulness and that's really a way to teach your brain to stay in the moment. And there's a whole series of toxic things that can happen in your brain when you're stuck in the past or may maybe spending too much time in the future. But it's a way to get you in the moment. So those are there's some research for being more creative.
Tripp: [00:14:18] Hopefully it's something useful to you. And we'll look to see if Doug comes out of hiding next week.
Tripp: [00:14:25] Thank you for listening.
Tripp: [00:14:32] Thank you for listening to the Driving Eureka! podcast. This podcast is part of the Innovation Engineering Institute. Innovation Engineering is a new field of academic study and leadership science. Its mission is to change the world by enabling innovation by everyone everywhere, every day, resulting in increased speed and decreased risk. To learn more about on campus, off campus, live and online courses, visit innovation engineering dot org.