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  • Back in the 1940s, historian Rosamund Harding noted the creative process of famous musicians

  • and writers involves habits of motion.

  • Twain paced and dictated, Dickens walked and thought, Goethe composed on horseback and

  • Mozart in the back of a carriage.

  • Harding wrotethat state of mind is most favourable to the birth of ideas.”

  • Recent research suggests that diverting our attention could unlock our creativity.

  • First, forget the whole idea that your right hemisphere is creative and the left is logical.

  • When youuse your imaginationyou use lots of different structures across your entire

  • brain.

  • Research suggests the interaction of three brain networks influences your creative thinking.

  • The Executive Attention Network depends on your working memory and is active when youre

  • really focused on a task, like hard calculus homework.

  • The Imagination Network creates mental simulations about future events and is active when you

  • consider other people’s thoughts or perspectives.

  • And the Salience Network monitors your internal consciousness and events that occur outside

  • your body, so it can direct your attention to what’s most important.

  • When all these networks are active, it can actually diminish creative thinking. Reducing

  • the activity of Executive Attention Network-just a little-can boost our creativity.

  • In one study a group of children with ADHD-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder- and a group

  • without were given a series of tasks to test their working memory.

  • Researchers found the children without ADHD had more activity in their Attention Network

  • and less in their Imagination Network.

  • Those with ADHD couldn’t deactivate their Imagination Network to focus on the task and

  • overall, they had slower response times.

  • Children and adults with ADHD have trouble focusing their attention, but again and again

  • research shows theyre more creative because their Imagination Network is really active.

  • And focused attention has been shown to limit spontaneity.

  • In another study jazz musicians gave an improvised performance while they were inside a fMRI

  • machine.

  • When they spontaneously improvised, brain structures involved in the Imagination Network

  • were more active.

  • And when they played an over-learned musical sequence, like a scale, the brain structures

  • of their Attention Network were more active--you know, their working memory.

  • So to get your creative juices flowing, be spontaneous! And if youre not into jazz,

  • try singing in the shower.

  • And be distracted! Like Dickens and Goethe before you, pacing or riding a horse could

  • see your mind come along and wander too.

  • And if you haven't already, subscribe to BrainCraft! I have a new brainy episode out every Thursday.

Back in the 1940s, historian Rosamund Harding noted the creative process of famous musicians

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B1 INT UK network attention imagination adhd active creative

Can You Boost Your Creativity?

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    Eating   posted on 2015/02/09
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