Were you born that way?

lrmb

Were you born creative or was it a learned behavior?  Wow, thats a hot topic in the medical and social science journals.  I was surprised to learn so much about creativity through reading some of these articles.  Here is a quick summary of what i have discovered:

1. Creativity is often something we are born with, however environment can influence the growth of creativity where natural skills are less apparent.

2.  Creative people (painters, sculptors, writers, dancers) have a slightly more distinctive brain structure…. the bundle where both lobes of the brain are held together is often smaller, allowing a better flow of brain activity between both hemispheres of the brain.  David Cox explains this further in an article written in NeuroScience Journal:

The brain is divided into two halves, or hemispheres, that are joined by a bundle of fibres called the corpus callosum. Writers, artists and musicians were found to have a smaller corpus callosum, which may augment their creativity by allowing each side of their brain to develop its own specialization. The authors suggest that this “benefits the incubation of ideas that are critical for the divergent-thinking component of creativity”.  http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2013/sep/19/born-creative-study-brain-hemingway

3. Creative brains have a wider network of neurons in the brain… Oddly the activity of translating thought to action (such as painting, working with clay, playing piano) develops these increased spider webs of networking of the brain.  And this additional networking is beneficial as we age.  People with wider networks of neurons tend to have less development of dementia, or other memory loss aging issues.

4. It may be in our DNA.  Studies have been conducted world wide attempting to determine if there is a correlation between specific DNA and specific creative talents.

In a study published in PLoS ONE in 2013, researchers from the University of Helsinki assessed people’s musical creativity based on their ability to judge pitch and time as well as skills such as composing, improvisation and arranging. They found that the presence of one particular cluster of genes correlated with musical creativity. Crucially, this cluster belongs to a gene family known to be involved in the plasticity of the brain: its ability to reorganize itself by breaking and forming new connections between cells.

5.  Environment, or environmental events may also play a role in development of creativity.  Often the greatest art, music and performance come after some deep trauma, challenging life event, or onset of either health or mental issues.  Creativity becomes a release from the stress of coping with the life that has suddenly pressed in.  Hungarian researcher A Keri has found that brain chemistry is altered by significant events, and often this change stirs creativity in our brain

“We found that many individuals with artistic creativity suffered from severe traumas in life, whether it be psychological or physical abuse, neglect, hostility or rejection,” Keri said. “At the biological level, we and several other researchers documented that trauma is associated with functional alteration of the brain, and it also affects the expression of genes that have an impact on brain structure, maybe in the same large-scale networks that participate in creativity.”

Creativity is a fascinating subject.  What starts our as a simple concept of expression is really a lot more complex.  I remain amazed at the totally complex system that is the human body, and how detailed and uniquely we function.  We may never quite fully understand if creativity is innate, developed over time or due to life events, or a combination of everything.  But we can say that creativity is a good thing that enriches our own lives as well as the world.

 


3 thoughts on “Were you born that way?

  1. Great post! I am kind of a neuroscience geek, though, so I’m biased. An interesting thing about #2 (smaller corpus callosum) is that it would actually mean less flow of information between hemispheres. What they are saying is that this stronger division might actually enhance the generation of creative ideas or divergent thinking by allowing each hemisphere to specialize more and act a little more independently.

    If this is something that interests you, I highly recommend looking up Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED talk. She is a neuroscientist who had a severe stroke limited to the left hemisphere, so for a while, she was operating on the right hemisphere alone. Her experience and story is incredible.

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