Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

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Can a brain fitness program help me become more creative?

Creative BrainHere is ques­tion 20 from Brain Fit­ness 101: Answers to Your Top 25 Ques­tions.

Ques­tion:
Can a brain fit­ness pro­gram help me become more cre­ative?

Key Points:

  • Cre­ativ­i­ty can be trained, like oth­er men­tal mus­cles.
  • Set up struc­tured time, places, or rou­tines that pro­vide a frame­work for cre­ativ­i­ty to hap­pen.
  • Reduc­ing your stress helps to keep your brain more flex­i­ble.
  • Using many parts of the brain as well as try­ing new things will stim­u­late the areas of your brain involved in cre­ativ­i­ty.

Answer:
Yes. As with all forms of brain exer­cise, cre­ativ­i­ty takes con­sis­tent effort, orga­ni­za­tion, and com­mit­ment. It is hard to be cre­ative if you work with­out any struc­ture. This struc­ture can take many forms: dai­ly rou­tines, lim­it­ed dis­trac­tions, or a record of the steps you took to get from the begin­ning to the end of a project or idea.

Idea gen­er­a­tion and cre­ative dri­ve orig­i­nate in inter­ac­tions between the frontal lobes, oth­er parts of the neo­cor­tex, and the lim­bic sys­tem. Positron-emis­sion tomog­ra­phy (PET) scans of people’s brains dur­ing cre­ative tasks sug­gests that cre­ativ­i­ty aris­es large­ly from the “asso­ci­a­tion cor­tex” — parts of the frontal, pari­etal and tem­po­ral lobes that inte­grate sen­so­ry and oth­er infor­ma­tion. Frontal lobe dam­age usu­al­ly decreas­es idea gen­er­a­tion, in part because of men­tal rigid­i­ty.

The frontal lobes and oth­er parts of the neo­cor­tex can be exer­cised by a vari­ety of activ­i­ties and shut down with stress. Try mak­ing close obser­va­tions of a spe­cif­ic item or imag­ine being some­one else — try to expe­ri­ence life in those shoes. Do less of the pas­sive things in life, like watch­ing tele­vi­sion and do more activ­i­ties that chal­lenge you to be orig­i­nal. Try new things.

Fur­ther Read­ing

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