Dear Elkhonon, a pleasure to have you with us. Let’s get out the gate by discussing how are new ideas born — for example, how exactly did you first think about writing your new book, Creativity: The Human Brain in the Age of Innovation?
Originally, I set out to write a book about how the brain deals with novelty — a long-standing focus of my own research. But the more I thought about it, the more the subject of creativity was coming up, so I decided to tackle novelty and creativity at the same time.
Do we need yet another book on Creativity?
We absolutely do. Creativity is not just an individual feat; it is embedded into a culture which either foster, stifles, or shapes it in a variety of ways. And it is never a strictly solitary process, since even the most creative mind draws on the previously accumulated knowledge. So, in order to truly understand creativity, we must integrate neuroscientific and cultural perspectives into a coherent narrative. To my knowledge, this has not been done before, and this is what my book aims to accomplish.
I am particularly fascinated by the dynamic relationship between over- and underactivation of prefrontal cortex areas in the creative process and discuss it extensively in the book. This is one of the most intriguing and possibly most consequential aspects of the brain machinery of creativity.
What have we learned about the brain mechanisms of creativity over the last five to ten years?
We have learned a lot: that creativity is not a monolithic trait; that is consists of many moving parts and may take many paths even within the same arena of human endeavor; that it is not linked to any single brain structure or to a single gene or even a small group of genes.
How do you define Creativity, and what can Neuroscience contribute to its understanding?
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with content which is both novel and salient. [Read more…] about A conversation with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg on Creativity, Neuroscience, and Technological Innovation