Where do people get their creative ideas from?

"The newspaper of ideas" - Where do ideas actually come from?

Does brain research know how ideas arise in the head?
The question of Eureka effects and creativity is actually a rather under-researched area of ​​neuroscience. This is a phenomenon that amazes me and some of my colleagues, especially since creativity is a quality that we generally value. The fact that there is so little research on this is also due to the fact that ideas and creativity are difficult to force into the scope of an investigation.

Today you can watch the brain think. You could see what happens when someone has a good idea.
You do that too. Creativity, that is, finding new aspects on the basis of information already learned, is indeed being studied neuroscientifically today. You can see what happens with creative acts. Our memory storage is tapped while the prefrontal cortex, i.e. the control center in the frontal lobe, is quiet. To put it simply: the prefrontal cortex allows the information stored in the memory system to be freely and newly combined. In a normal thinking situation, this control center is so strongly activated that it simply does not allow the new, unusual combinations of already stored information.

The newspaper of ideas

The IdeenExpo begins on Saturday in Hanover. We take the event as an opportunity to tell stories about people who have succeeded with an idea - or who have failed grandly. To be recognized by the logo of the "newspaper of ideas".

More about the IdeenExpo 2013

Does this mean that some kind of calm is needed for ideas to occur?
That's the way it is. In every situation in which control processes are necessary in order to cope with life, the prefrontal cortex is strongly activated. He guides us and guides our attention. However, so that the stored knowledge information can develop freely and in an unusual way, the control system may & nbsp; do not intervene in an inhibiting or structuring manner.

And without any stored knowledge, there would seem to be no ideas.
Exactly. To use a metaphor to describe it: You can't knit without wool.

Is there also the problem that you have stored too much knowledge?
There is that too. It's like a juggler. With three or four balls he can still work quite well, with more than ten balls it is impossible. Too much information can interfere with one another. But that doesn't mean that a creative act always needs little information. If you don't know anything about math, you'll never find a creative solution to a math problem. For creative people this is sometimes a shock. Many think that they don't have to know anything to be creative, but that's just not true.

What can you do to have more and better ideas? Some writers say they have the best ideas in the shower. Is there such a meditative calm?
Meditative calm means that our control center is not as active. Control and coercion are reduced. Relaxation helps. The new combination of scraps of ideas is then no longer inhibited from above. That is why it is always good for creative people to move out of the constraints of thinking.

What about brainstorming among colleagues? Finding ideas can also be a social act.
Any remedy that will help you get out of the mind is good. However, it doesn't help if five people come together to brainstorm who have been doing the same thing for years. Five people from different disciplines can be more creative.

Are there still ways to increase creativity?
From a neuroscientific point of view, we know that creativity can be stimulated by inhibiting the prefrontal cortex. This works with transcranial magnetic stimulation or transcranial direct current stimulation.

That sounds like Frankenstein.
But it is not. These are standard techniques today. With magnetic fields of high intensity or with direct current one can inhibit the activity of the control center. In such a situation, the test subjects are significantly more creative.

Lutz Jäncke has been Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology at the University of Zurich since 2002. The 56-year-old is particularly interested in the plasticity of the human brain. A hobbyhorse of the brain researcher is the examination of the brains of professional musicians who start training their brains particularly early. He has written several books (some of them together with Eckart Altenmüller) about the brain and music. Source: private

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