Surprising Study Finds That Creativity Is Not Actually Right Brain–It Is Left Brain

from Fast Company

Time to implode one of your sacred cows: Creative excellence is mostly driven by the left brain, not the right brain, according to new research. This flies in the face of all of our popular notions about how right-brain thinkers are free-spirited creatives while left-brain thinkers are steeped in logic and analytics.

In a new study in the journal NeuroImage, researchers at Drexel University conducted EEG scans while 32 guitarists to improvise jazz to six leads (songs). They found the guitarists’ brain activity to be almost entirely left-brain.

A caveat: Inexperienced improvisers displayed right-brain activity and, not surprisingly, lower-quality music. (Professional jazz musicians judged the music.) This is a key insight, because it indicates that right-brain creativity is more about how the brain handles novel artistic situations—i.e., I’m totally winging this creative thing.

More here.

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  1. The article written by Arianne Cohen informs the reader about a preconceived belief that creativity is in the right side of the brain and discusses how it is in the left side instead. I believe the brain is the most powerful weapon that an individual possesses. It is sad we do not fully understand it or use it 100%. The brain is like a perfectly intertwining maze that controls the human body that holds the idea of consciousness. It is the engine that powers the machine.

    This article describes where creativity comes from in the brain. It seems to me that creativity is stored in the left side and learning to be creative is right side dominate. For example, while learning to draw like an artist and mastering the skill, the brain uses the right side. It must focus on the directions, understand examples, and physically do the work. This learning process comes relates to the right side. Once the brain understands and grasps what to do and how to do it. True creativity from the left side of the brain starts to emerge.

  2. I found this article very intriguing to me because I play multiple instruments and I am an accounting major so I have both attributes of using extensively my left and right brain in different subjects. I found this interesting because it is very important about the brain because we really don’t know much about it. The brain is the control system of our body is probably the most important organ because a brain cannot be replaced like the heart or kidney can. “A team of neuroscientists set out to test this premise. After a two-year analysis Trusted Source, they found no proof that this theory is correct. Magnetic resonance imaging of 1,000 people revealed that the human brain doesn’t actually favor one side over the other. The networks on one side aren’t generally stronger than the networks on the other side”. The brain has a strong connection and it is a very powerful one. The Healthline article gives detailed statements with background research on the right and left hemispheres of the brain. Creativity is such an important part. Even accountants have to get creative when it comes to presentation and as such

    Overall, knowing our brain is important and it could be the findings on how to cure mental illness and such. We can discover new things for medicine and it can start by just knowing the difference between the right and left brain.

  3. I always thought that the “left brain, right brain” arguments were never fully derived in science and this article puts a lot of evidence towards that thought (yay, me), but I cannot deny that the left and right halves of our brains are not in sync. I experimented with a mental health therapy which worked, where you had to hold two simultaneously vibrating handles, one in each hand, to stimulate that side of the brain and activate the full analytical and emotional capacity of the brain while being walked through a past situation. That was also not fully backed by science (I’ll put it somewhere between pills and eastern medicine in terms of its logical reasoning, closer to our pills than some herbal treatment), but we do not know enough about our brains to solely consider science when something works. Think about CTE which can only be diagnosed after death. Yes, we know that it is strongly correlated with severe mental health issues and is mostly caused by traumatic brain injury, but not everyone with brain injury gets it, many who have traumatic injuries do not, and some people who have never been struck to the head have seen mild cases caused by an abundance of “grey matter” in the brain. This disease is a boogeyman for football players and professional fighters, yet we cannot even definitively prove that it causes major issues and there are other factors at play. Maybe, we could even treat it when we get greater knowledge on the brain and its full functions, capacities, and capabilities inside and out. This is a step in the right direction, and hopefully it accelerates this sort of study.

  4. Personally, I did not know much about what each side of the brain is used for, obviously through my life I would hear many of my teachers mention it but honestly, I was never listening to what they were saying. Now that I think about it I think there was a time back in the day in my biology class we were studying the brain and I think we also had to do exercises about them but that was around the time I was never in class so it make sense for me to not know anything about the brain. After reading this article:, I have learned that apparently the left side of the brain is used for logic, sequencing, linear thinking, mathematics, facts, thinking in words and the right side of the brain is used for imagination, holistic thinking, intuition, arts, rhythm, non-verbal cues, feelings visualization and daydreaming. Another thing that I learned is that most people are split between being either right brain dominated or left brain dominated, well I thought that was just some interesting information to learn about also after learning more about the brain I think I understood the article more. What the article said kind of makes more sense when they say that creativity is not on the right side of the brain but on the left but I think it really does depend on the circumstances like the example that they used, it said that there was a group of musicians and a group of normal people well more like novice musicians and asked them to improvise a jazz to six leads. Obviously if you do not really know much about music it is going to take a tremendous amount of creativity for you to create something that the Jazz musician would judge to be pretty decent but if you are already a musician and have spent most of your life being creative with your music I think that at that point when you are told to improves jazz it is more logic that takes place to pull form all your years of experience of what sounds go well together or what is good jazz music then you would pull on some of your creative side in order for you create something. I am not sure if you understand what I am trying to say but that is probably because I did not do a good job in expressing my thoughts but anyway this is a Depp topic. It is like an iceberg in the sense that 90% of this topic is hidden “underwater”. Chew on that for a minute or two.

  5. This argument between left and right brained people has always been one that seemed somewhat baseless, we do know that certain areas of the brain are responsible for certain reactions, functions, and emotions, but most of it is relatively unknown. The human brain is the most complex thing that we know of that exists in our universe, way more complex than any system or computer made by humans. It’s no surprise we would discover something that goes against the old way of thinking. This study shows that there is still a lot about how our brains work that we don’t even know about, let alone have an understanding of. This discovery is particularly interesting though, as it shows differences in how our brains work when dealing with a brand new problem verse tackling a problem you have experience with already. The functions of human creativity operate differently depending on familiarity, according to this study, which makes sense really. Depending on your experience with a situation, you will attempt to solve it in different ways and prepare for it in different ways. There are different obstacles to look at depending on the situation, and so it makes sense that our brains have adapted to delegate our mental processing power where it is most efficient. If we are to believe that the right side of the brain is still responsible for creative thought and the left side is for more logical and analytical thought, then it makes sense why experienced creativity is left side oriented. When learning something knew, there are more unknown variables than known ones, even the amount of unknown variables is unknown. You have to be prepared for anything, and it makes the learning experience much more spontaneous. However, if we look at, for instance, a seasoned guitar player, because they already know how to play chords and make music, the unknown variable is much less, and therefore they can process their creativity in a more analytical way. It is interesting to see the developments in understanding how the human brain works.

  6. While looking through all the articles this one stood out to me for many reasons. It is amazing to see the images Arianne Cohen used in her article. It shows where which sides of the brain use their creativity, and how it can shift with experience. It made me think back to when I was younger and played percussion for three years. After that, in high school I played the guitar, and took a guitar class. This article made me think back to those classes and how the people in them played the instruments. I would love to go back and figure out who uses which side of their brain, and to see if that is why they play the way they do. Also, to see if they play differently now and if their creativity in their brain has shifted.
    There also was a point in my life where I was really into Psychology, how the brain works, and how certain things effect the brain differently. I was also very into documentaries and books about serial killers and trying to see what caused them to do what they did. To see which parts of their brain were active/non active, or if it was producing the wrong “chemicals.” Although some can say that their brains would not have a lot of creativity, but in a way, they have extreme amounts of it. I wonder if they had an overload of negative creativity caused from a trauma or something at a young age, or maybe that has nothing to do with it at all. This brought me to think about a few kids that I work with. I will not use their real names, but I talk about one and call him Jack. Jack is more of a quit kid who loves to play music and listen to it. He also loves to read and write, but his social skills are not the best. He is a very nice kid who means well, but to some other kids it does not seem like that. He once said that his dad has guns and he would shoot people who were mean to him. He did not come back to camp for a little and I had to tell my boss and his parents. It turned out that his dad did not have a gun, but Jack would sometimes draw them in his book. Weeks later he came back after therapy and was a lot better with his anger and outbursts. Instead he turned the negativity into things like positive writings or drawings. Or by listening to music or making it, and it would fascinate me to see which side of the brain he uses and how his creativity shifts.

  7. Being a college student majoring in psychology, I find the brain fascinating. The brain is the one organ, we as humans, will never fully understand. Basic functions and controls of each part of the brain are a few of the limited concepts we know about. Humans are adaptive organisms, and I feel like as soon as we learn one new thing about the brain, something else new comes along for us to figure out. Every human is different and not all control systems work the same exact way.
    After reading this article and the study linked within the article, I was able to gain new insight into how a form of creativity, improvisation, works within the brain. The study tested musicians who had different backgrounds within music genres and experience levels. Musicians with a focus on jazz and more experience showed more left-brain activity and produced a “better” sound than the others who produced more right-brain activity. This only proves how different humans are, and simply defining someone as a musician or a “creative” person does not mean all of their creativity comes from one side of the brain or the other.

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