Lowering barriers to creativity

Although the creative process involves different stages, many people seem to find the stage involving creative imagination or thinking to be the most challenging. Research is showing that one key to creativity involves lowering the inhibitions that prevent us from fully engaging our imaginations. This typically corresponds to a reduction of activity in our frontal lobes, which wears the crown of executive functioning in the brain.

Sian Beilock (Psychology Today) | Alcohol benefits the creative process

Why might being intoxicated lead to improved creativity? The answer has to do with alcohol’s effect on working memory: the brainpower that helps us keep what we want in mind and what we don’t want out. Research has shown that alcohol tends to reduce people’s ability to focus in on some things and ignore others, which also happens to benefit creative problem solving.

Sian Beilock (Psychology Today) | Why your best ideas come when you least expect it

Recent research… found that when people have to solve “insight problems” that require a high degree of creativity, solvers are much more successful when they tackle these problems at the time of day in which they are least alert.

Sian Block (Psychology Today) | Being dishonest enhances creativity

Given that both dishonest and creative acts involve rule violations, it begs the question of whether people most likely to bend the rules are also the most creative… What [researchers] found was a clear link between one’s tendency to lie and his/her ability to think in creative ways. People who cheated or lied were more likely to come up with the solution to creative problems… and this link was explained by a heightened feeling of being unconstrained by rules.

Darya Zabelina (The Creativity Post) | Thinking of yourself as a child can unlock your creative potential

Are there means of tapping into the free and un-inhibited state which was once so familiar when we were children? And if so, would that state have an influence on our creative ability? The answer to these questions is yes. Turns out that simply thinking of yourself as a child can unlock your creative potential!… [W]e found that the group who experienced themselves as children for just a few minutes had significantly more original answers on the creativity test than those in the “adult” group.

Charles Limb (TED) | Your brain on improv

A lot of research on creativity involves the performance of tasks which are designed so that essentially anyone can do them. However, the research described here involves the performance of people who have developed significant skill in a specific area. Nonetheless, even with this novice versus expert like contrast, we see the same pattern in which creative imagination or thinking corresponds to a decrease of activity in the brain related to inhibition.

[W]e think that at least a reasonable hypothesis is that, to be creative, you have to have this weird dissociation in your frontal lobe. One area turns on, and a big area shuts off, so that you’re not inhibited, so that you’re willing to make mistakes, so that you’re not constantly shutting down all of these new generative impulses.