by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2016
Sources of Inspiration
As creatives, inspiration is something that we are always in need of, and all too often short of! Inspiration can come from experience even when that experience is buried deep in the subconscious. Can a brain think up a unique story or picture theme without the help of prior visual exposure? This is a very philosophical question but the evidence suggests that you cannot have a unique, self-contained idea, all ideas are the result of distilling prior experience. The evidence for this is that people who have suffered significant brain injury, with attendant amnesia, have to re-experience all their previously acquired thoughts, notions and environments before they can begin to function with simple things such as speech and navigating their way around their previously familiar surroundings. Despite this, there seems to be little doubt that some people/brains are more creative than others - this is why the expression , 'why didn't I think of that!' exists. The problem for the person who failed to think up an idea is just how to train their brains to start thinking stuff up!
There is published medical evidence to suggest that more creative people have brains that work differently and that brains in the process of 'being creative' are working in quite different ways than when routine tasks are being performed - different parts of the brain are 'lit up' in MRI scans (a science called tractography (which incidentally produces spectacular images in its own right - see http://hardi.epfl.ch/page/projects). This perhaps infers that there is a predisposition to more creative thinking. Some evidence shows that dyslexia is more prevalent among creatives and that, combined with savant autistics' performance, also suggests that it is a left-side-right-side brain activity difference and that cross-hemisphere brain wiring plays a part. While this might sell more lifestyle coaching books, the medico-scientific evidence is not quite as secure even though studies of stroke victims indicate that speech is more in the control of left hemisphere. It might simply be that more creative people are able to bring their past visual experiences together, more fully and more efficiently.
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