Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reading notes: Artistic Creativity, Style and Brain Disorders

Another definition: "The production of novel, motivated or useful material defines creativity, which appears to be one of the higher, specific, human brain functions."

From a neurological perspective, this article attempts to understand the creative process by studying brain disorders and their effect on creative output.

  • "Neurological diseases in artists provide a unique opportunity to study brain-creativity relationships, in particular through the stylistic changes which may develop after brain lesion." (Thought: do these brain lesions affect motor control, etc, which would alter physical appearance in the creative works?)
  • Four 'classical' phases of creativity are identified - "preparation, incubation, inspiration and production".
  • Psychological mechanisms identified as being behind creativity include replication, redefinition, forward incrementation, redirection, reconstruction, re-initiation and integration.
  • Characteristics of creative persons: openness, lack of conventionalism, playful thinking with risk taking.
  • "Imagination abilities and integration of dream memories into reality are... features which may facilitate creativity."
  • Ability to disengage from 'repressed' and 'controlled' mental processes can be beneficial in producing spontaneous expressions. Sleep and dreams have been connected with the dis-inhibition of brain mechanisms - 'next morning creativity'.
  • Interesting definition of 'ambiguity' - "a possibility for the brain to evoke several perceptions, interpretations or solutions simultaneously." (From other readings, a tolerance for ambiguity has been highlighted as a personality trait in creative persons).
  • Many areas of the brain are used in the process of creativity - a "complex combination of sensory, cognitive and motor activities" indicate that being creative is engaging the functions of the brain in an holistic capacity.
  • "... style is the most personal signature of artistic production, which corresponds to the uniqueness of each individual and each brain."

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