The Secrets to Creativity: How much do you know?

By: Staff
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About This Quiz

Creativity is defined as the ability to create novel, socially valued products and ideas. But can a person be inherently creative, or can it be taught? Test your creativity smarts now.

The state of "flow" allows a person to be so absorbed by an enjoyable activity that time seems to slip by, sometimes resulting in creative and innovative thinking. You can enter a state of flow by enganging in:

Very rarely is a passive activity like watching TV, napping and hanging out a cause for flow. A study by Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found that high schoolers who engaged in high-flow activities scored significantly higher in well-being measures, like self-esteem, than their low-flow counterparts who hung out at the mall and watched TV.

Stimulants and depressants have been known to alter moods and affect creativity. Which of the following contributes more to creativity when it comes to collaboration?

According to author Steven Johnson, previous to the 1600s most people nipped at alcohol from morning to night since it was more sanitary than their local water supplies. The coffeehouse culture helped usher in a new era, specifically the Age of Enlightenment in the UK by offering a stimulant (rather than a depressant, alcohol) and a place where citizens could pool their ideas.

In order to experience optimal creativity, you should closely monitor your thoughts.

In order to create and innovate you have to silence the observer. This is the reason why jazz musicians can improvise so beautifully, as observed in a music-mind study by Charles Limb, who put musicians in an MRI machine while they performed. Researchers found that the part of the brain that is the seat of judgment went blissfully radio silent during improv sessions.  

Where is the seat of creativity found in the brain?

There is no single creative area of the brain. Researcher and surgeon Charles Limb found that, much like musicality, there is no focal activation of a single area when it comes to the brain and creativity.

Creative people are also besieged by mental illness.

You don't have to be mentally ill to access your creativity. While it's true that highly creative people and schizophrenic people have a low density of dopamine receptors from the thalamus, it just means that they both share the ability to access more information to play with and make creative associations from.

Can meditation lead to more creativity?

Some studies have indicated that transcendental meditation can greatly influence the brain waves and allow a person to access innovative ideas and thoughts. However, more conclusive studies are needed. In the meantime, filmmaker David Lynch has said of transcendental meditation: "It's so beautiful how the enjoyment of beauty blossoms when the suffocating rubber clown suit of negativity begins to dissolve."

Having "mind-altering" experiences before the age of 20 is important in terms of encouraging white matter growth, an abundance of which is a signature feature of highly creative people.

True. Mind-altering is defined by having a novel experience -- the experience is literally altering the way the brain thinks and acts. And although the human brain isn't fully myelinated until age 20 and we have the most potential to build genius and creativity by this age with new experiences, the brain continues to build white matter as we age. This is why it's so important to take up a new activity, even if it's just juggling.

Depressive people are more creative.

Not necessarily. In fact, sadness inhibits creativity in a vicious cycle of fear, anxiety and lethargy.

To exercise your creative muscles, you can create a thought experiment. A thought experiment is:

The point of a thought experiment is to think of a problem or a scenario and then spin off possible directions in which the problem can go. There is no need to find a solution since the thought experiment is just a way to explore the terrain of your ideas. It's akin to kids weaving a tale of pirate dragons sailing the seas in search of robotic gold. It's about the journey of the mind.

Which circumstance promotes creativity the most?

Creativity is dependent upon the sharing of information and brainstorming, a key aspect of collaboration; competition usually results in withholding information and acting alone.

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