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If You Have Many Different Sides, You Might Have A Creative Brain, Here’s Why

If You Have Many Different Sides, You Might Have A Creative Brain, Here’s Why

“If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an ‘individual,’ each of them is a ‘multitude.’” Said psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi after more than 30 years of observing creative people.

The right brain myth

Many forward thinking neuroscientists have investigating what actually happens in the brain during the creative process. What they have found out through their studies and observations is that the right brain/left brain distinction is somewhat outdated; moreover, it does not provide a complete picture of how creativity comes to be.

Creativity does not require the involvement of one brain region or one side of the brain. Rather it requires the interaction of many cognitive (conscious and unconscious) and emotional processes. The creative process starts with preparation, moves on to incubation, then illumination and through to verification.

Barron’s study

In the 1960s, psychologist and creativity researcher  Frank X. Barron conducted a serious of experiments to try and find out what causes creative genius. Barron gathered a group of high-profile creative people, including; writers, architects, scientists, entrepreneurs and mathematicians and invited them to spend several days living at the Berkely campus of the University of California.

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Barron discovered that intelligence played a small role in creative thinking and that IQ alone did not explain the creative spark. Through his study Barron found that creativity was informed by intellectual, emotional, motivations and moral characteristics.

Barron isolated certain traits that were common to various individuals from different disciplines. These traits included:

“an openness to one’s inner life; a preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality; and a willingness to take risks.”

Based on these findings Barron wrote that creative genius was “both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person.”

The three networks

The creative process can be said to involve three networks: the imagination network; the executive attention network; and the salience network. As Carolyn Cregorie Scott and Barry Kaufman explain in their article:

“The creative brain is particularly good at flexibly activating and deactivating these brain networks, which in most people are at odds with each other. In doing so, they are able to juggle seemingly contradictory modes of thought – cognitive and emotional, deliberate and spontaneous. This allows them to draw on a wide range of strengths, characteristics and thinking styles in their work.”

Let us take a closer look at how each of these networks work.

The imagination network

Neuroscientist Randy Buckner and his colleagues  state that the imagination network (also known as the default network) is involved in: “constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past experiences such as used during remembering, thinking about the future, and generally when imagining alternative perspectives and scenarios to the present.”

This network is also involved in  social cognition. If, for example, we are trying to imagine what someone else it thinking, or put another way, see things from their perspective, we activate this network. It is also used to reflect on our own emotional state as well as the emotional state of others.

The imagination network was first identified by neurologist Marcus Raichle in 2001; it engages many regions on the medial (inside) surface of the brain in the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes.

The executive network

The brain’s executive network is in charge of controlling our attention and working memory. It enables us to focus our imagination and direct our attention to our inner experience without getting distracted by external stimuli.

This network is called into action when a task requires intense and accurate attention. This network is activated when, for example we are trying to understand a complicated lecture, or attempting to solve an involved problem. The areas of the brain that make up this network are the lateral (outer) regions of the prefrontal cortex and areas toward the back (posterior) of the parietal lobe.

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The salience network

The salience network monitors external events and the internal stream of consciousness. The regions of the brain involved in this network are the dorsal anterior cingulate cortices [dACC] and anterior insular [AI]. The salience network is important for dynamic changing between networks.

Summation

Various stages of the creative process require different patterns of neural activations and deactivations. Sometimes it is useful for the networks to work in unison, aiding one another, however at other times it is best if the networks do it alone. What is important, however is to do away with the outdated right/left brain model of creativity and to seek to gather a more complex understanding of the intricate dance that the various networks do alone and together. 

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 9, 2020

How To Trust Your Intuition When You’re Making a Decision

How To Trust Your Intuition When You’re Making a Decision

When you have an important decision to make, what is the first thing you do?

You want to know if your decision is right or wrong because, of course, you want to make the right choice. Do you go to friends hoping they will tell you? Do you agonize over it writing lists? Or have you ever tried to feel into the wisdom of your body? We all have the ability to read the body’s signs – inwards and out. But not everyone knows how to listen and trust your intuition.

You may have noticed two voices in your head arguing back and forth. They can get loud and confusing because they both seem concerned for your well-being.

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So which one is your inner knowing and which is simply resistant? You can tell through the simple exercise of slowing down, breathing deeply and tuning into your body. You will notice very real signs.

Everyone can tune into their intuition with the simple exercise outlined below. If you want to know how to trust your intuition, read on.

The Golden Rule

A rising, light and expansive feeling in your heart is a yes. A sinking, contracting and heavy feeling in your gut is a maybe or a no, which are both a no. The best way to access these feelings is by slowing down with a deep breath.

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Access Your Inner Guidance

Think of a simple decision you have to make that has two sides to it. Forgetting your background stories, take each at a time and sort of role play as you alternate each option in your mind.

Don’t go into the details of how you’ll get there or how a certain person might feel about it. Drop the stories and worries around it, simply be with one option, as though it is your choice. Remember, you can always pick up your concerns again right afterwards, if you want!

Bring option A into your mind like you are already there. It doesn’t have to be super specific, just imagine it is the direction you take. Start with the breath because it is clearing, it resets your nervous system and brings you to be completely present. Begin with your long, deep breath, exhaling all the way out.

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As you sit there and think of option A, notice what is happening in your body. What sensations are there, and where? Do you feel a buzzing in a limb or a prickling sensation? Maybe butterflies in your stomach? Sit with it, not judging it. Simply take note of what your body is telling you. If it is light and expansive then you have a good option. Now, take another breath to clear out option A.

Next you will probably notice feelings in different parts of your body as you focus on option B. Again, drop the fear and doubt you might have around it. Let yourself imagine (just for now) that this is what you’re choosing. Your breath is so important in this because it slows you down and connects you with your inner guidance. Give yourself that few extra seconds to deepen your breath. It will help you feel incredibly clear.

Become curious about the feelings in your body and how they are different from the last option. What do they mean? The answer is always in the weight of them. If they rise and feel light, you have your yes. The option that feels shrouded, heavier, contracted and sinking deeper in your stomach is the warning. It sounds simplistic, because it is.

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Your body has a profound and simple wisdom. When you let go of old expectations and open up to myriad possibilities, you can easily feel the best avenue to take simply by following what feels best. This is an important key in manifestation because how you feel at the start of any endeavor is generally how it will play out. So the lighter you feel about a situation, the happier it will be.

The Bottom Line

A special thing about intuition is that it never explains, it simply points the way. It may not always seem logical, but if it feels best then it will lead you to your success.

Remember, you need not to explain yourself either. Your internal yes will always be with you. The more you practice this and follow your internal yes, the stronger it will become and the more confidence you will gain! Soon you will notice it to be second nature, and the answer will come to you in a heart beat.

How have you connected to your intuition? We would love to hear how this exercise works for you. Where did you feel the yes or the no in your body? 

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Featured photo credit: Adrià García Sarceda via unsplash.com

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