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Stanford marries brain science and art to crack the code of creativity

Project 365 #190 -
Project 365 #190 - "A Screever in our Midst"
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Creativity is something that's become as valued in the arts as it is in disciplines as far afield as business, medicine and technology.

But how exactly do you measure creativity? How do you teach it?  It’s a perennial question that neuroscience has been called upon in recent years to answer.

A new study from Stanford is the latest to employ neuroscience to try to answer the question. The study asked participants to engage in a game similar to Pictionary while hooked up to an MRI machine. The results show an increase in activity in the cerebellum, which is typically tied to motor control. The study claims to be the first to find a direct evidence that that part of the brain in involved in creativity.

What are the implications of the study? Is creativity something that can be tested, replicated, and taught like a science?

Pictionary-based fMRI paradigm to study the neural correlates of spontaneous improvisation and figural creativity


Manish Saggar, Instructor at the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research at Stanford University. He is the lead author of the study, which has just been published in the online journal Scientific Reports

Grace Hawthorne,  Consulting Associate Professor at the Stanford D.School, the university’s design school. She is one of the co-authors of the study