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How Creativity Works in The Brain

Understanding how creativity works in the brain allows you to leverage your creative power. There are 4 types of scientifically identified brain activity that correspond to creativity.

  • Deliberate and Cognitive
  • Deliberate and Emotional
  • Spontaneous and Cognitive
  • Spontaneous and Emotional

Deliberate and Cognitive is the kind of creativity that comes from sustained work in a particular area. You need to have a body of knowledge from which your brain can pull information and put it together in new ways. This type of creativity relates to the discipline of getting 10,000 hours of practice – in any field. You get good at something, you will be more creative with it.

Deliberate and Emotional creativity happens through retrospective analysis. It is the type of creativity that occurs when we gain insights into ourselves and our patterns. It has to do with a build-up of emotional experience that leads to understanding and the breakthrough moment. When we clear up psychological and mental blocks caused by the trauma in our lives, we are open and have more courage. It clears the way for Deliberate and Cognitive creativity to work more effectively with the work you have built up.

Spontaneous and Cognitive creativity operates outside conscious awareness. This type of creativity happens when you stop working on the problem and give your brain a rest. How often have you had an A-Ha moment in the shower? Or have been able to find a solution once you step away from the problem? In the same line, taking a nap is also effective. A study done by neuroscientist Sara Mednick, found that people who went into REM sleep during a nap were more effective at solving problems.

Spontaneous and Emotional creativity are moments of epiphany and powerful moments that can equate to spiritual experience. As this is not linked to cognitive functions, this type of creativity cannot be achieved by working on it. It is associated with the “amygdala”, which is responsible for all emotional functions. Spontaneous and emotional creativity is responsible for scientific breakthroughs and great discoveries. While a body of knowledge is not necessary for this type of creativity, a skill such as (writing, art, music) is useful as a channel.

How to Use this Information:
Keep working on your art. Do therapy. Take naps and showers.

Jamuna Burry

Exploring ideas on creativity through digital art.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Adele Buttolph

    This is a terrific summary of how the brain works with creativity! I was not aware of these four sets, but it makes sense. Hopefully, each of us can harness the processes of all four.

  2. Patricia

    Fabulous information Jamuna and described beautifully.

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