Source of Creativity?

I know some people are way creative and others way less so. A new study from Northwest University may give us clues to what makes one person more creative than another.

See: Creative Genius Driven by Distraction

Lobby Cam oil painting

Lobby Cam oil painting by Bryn Oh, on Flickr

The hypothesis suggested by the research is creative people have trouble filtering out distractions. I suppose a noisy and chaotic environment would be the most common distraction. But any irrelevant sensory information could provide the distraction.

Darya Zabelina, the lead researcher in the study, thinks leaky filtering of irrelevant stimuli causes the brain to integrate other ideas with the primary focus of thinking.  Another hypothesis is the additional stimuli coming in forces these people to learn how to look at a wider range of information. I suppose one could relate this to thinking outside the box.

Some of the people we consider highly creative have needed solitude and quite to complete their art, books, whatever. To support the hypothesis of leaky filtering Kafa is pointed to and quoted as saying, “I need solitude for my writing; not ‘like a hermit’ — that wouldn’t be enough — but like a dead man.

The formal title of the study: “Creativity and sensory gating indexed by the P50: Selective versus leaky sensory gating in divergent thinkers and creative achievers.”

Divergent thinking is not about kinky people. Testing divergent thinking is done by seeing how many ideas a subject can provide in a limited time about some subject or object. Think, tell me how many things can you see in some ink blot?

My take on the study is they are suggesting that divergent thinkers are more sequential or linear thinkers taking many turns in direction but basically one idea at a time and the creative types are thinking on a wide front of simultaneous ideas that mix together.

So… does this mean it’s better to live in chaos? Or tell ‘em to F off and stop bothering me…

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