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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One Comment

  1. I thought this article was extremely interesting. I always thought that people who have a dominate left brain were more analytical and logical, while people who have a dominate right brain were more creative. I was shocked that a recent study discovered that there is some creativity which is attributed to the left brain. We now know that the left brain is responsible for unconscious, well preformed, creative acts, while the right brain is responsible for winging a creative thing. The right brain is more active when someone is an amateur and they are being taught a creative thing, while the left brain is more active when a person has mastered a creative thing and is unconsciously repeating the creative thing on autopilot to an almost, if not, perfect degree of precision. This discovery is revolutionary as it helps us rethink how we view the brain and how we understand the learning process. Personally, I have always thought of myself as having a dominate left brain, as I am very analytical and logical. However, I also am a creative person. I always enjoyed drawing, analyzing art, and listening to music. Now, I finally understand, that some of my creativity stems from my left brain. This is incredibly fascinating, and something I would not have expected prior to learning about the Drexel University study which was referenced in this article.

    This all being known, the next question which needs to be asked is, what exactly is creativity? Creativity is the process of connecting assumptions and past experiences to think about the next most likely possibility. This means that creativity is rooted in logic as it’s just about connecting one’s conception of the world to what they believe is the next most likely possibility. Creativity is actually only creative on the outside, as those who view the creative act, didn’t think about connecting the same assumptions as the creative person. The creative individual is acting logically according to their circle of possibilities. There circle of possibilities is based in their life experiences and assumptions about the universe. Everyone else has different life experiences and different assumptions about the universe, and so in return their circle of possibilities is different. The differences between everyone’s circle of possibilities is what allows us to think other people are creative. When in reality, the creative person is just making a logical next step based on their assumptions. Since creativity is based on logic and connecting our past experiences, one begins to think about how much of our creativity is associated with our right brain. I am intrigued by this question, and hope that further research is conducted which seeks to help us better understand how the brain works and the effects of all of the brain’s different functions.

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