Creative people are better connected

The way our brains are wired could provide the key to understanding the way we think. A talent for innovation, creativity, imagination, originality, and ingenuity is the result of how the two sides of your brain are able to talk to each other. If you can think outside the box, then you’re very likely to have greater connectedness.

It’s long been thought that right-brained people are more creative, but this is almost certainly not the case.

A new study has confirmed that creativity does not depend on a single side of the brain, but rather on the ability of the two hemispheres to communicate via the corpus callosum, the neural highway made up of bundles of wires, or axons, which connect billions of neurons and carry electrical signals back and forth between the two hemispheres.

Neuroscientists have discovered that people who are highly creative, inventive or innovative have greater connectivity between the right and left brain.

Using MRI scans, the scientists monitored the network of white matter connections among 68 separate brain regions in healthy college-age participants while they completed a series of tasks. These included problem solving, drawing and design and thinking up new uses for everyday objects. Participants then filled out a questionnaire about their achievements in ten creative areas, including the visual arts, music, creative writing, dance, cooking and science. All the information was then collated to provide a ‘creativity score’ for each participant.

They discovered there was no statistical difference in connectivity within the individual hemispheres, nor was there any difference between male and female brains. But when they compared the participants whose test scores were in the top 15% with those of the bottom 15%, those in the higher bracket were found to have a significantly greater connection between left and right hemispheres.

The scans were carried out at the University of New Mexico, where computers sifted through each of the 1GB scans and converted them to three-dimensional diagrams of the brain.

Could this technique be used to predict whether a person will be highly creative, possibly from an early age?

The researchers are in the process of developing more statistical methods to find out whether brain connectivity varies with IQ, whose relationship to creativity is still a matter of debate.

I suspect the answer will be that it is, as creative genius and intelligence often seems to go hand in hand – Einstein immediately springs to mind – after his death in 1955, his brain was preserved, albeit in pieces and in different parts of the world.

 

Copyright Andrew Newton 2017. All rights reserved.