Risk Taking and Substance Abuse

If the creative act brings satisfaction and fulfillment, why do creative people often have affective disorders such as depression In addition to having a high prevalence of affective disorders, creative people, especially writers, composer-musicians, and fine artists, have a very high rate of substance abuse, such as alcoholism (Post, 1994, 1996). As I mentioned in the chapter on neurotransmitters (chapter 8), although creative people often go through many trials and tribulations to accomplish...

Relaxation and Sleep

One of the best means of developing a neuropsychological hypothesis about a specific behavior is to study groups of people who can or cannot produce this behavior and learn what common factor or factors distinguish these groups (finding the thread that unites). Several scientists have reported that they were able to solve a difficult scientific problem during sleep or when they were either falling asleep or awakening from sleep. One of the most famous examples of this phenomenon is August...

Subconscious Incubation

Many creative people have related that after discovering an unresolved problem, they are unable to immediately to solve this problem. After multiple attempts, they might become frustrated, give up trying to solve the problem, and then move on to other problems. Sometimes, after a few days, weeks, or months, suddenly the solution of this problem might come to them. As I mentioned, this experience has been termed illumination, or the aha experience, by Wallas (1926). The ability to suddenly...

Definitions

When I was in public elementary school (P.S. 103), my fifth-grade teacher Ms. Carole tried to increase our Brooklyn vocabularies, which consisted primarily of four-letter words, by asking us to define words. One day she asked me to define the word loquacious. I remember saying to her, I know what it means but I cannot tell you now. She, of course, said, If you knew what the word means you would be able to give me the definition. About 35 years later I saw a retired engineering professor who was...

The Aging Brain

There are many biological changes in the brain that occur with aging. The brain decreases in size and weight with aging Berg, 1948 . These involutional changes usually start at the age of 50 and there is about a 2 decrease for each decade. Quantitative anatomical studies using neurostereology of the aging brain in nondemented people Pakkenberg et al., 2003 have revealed that the difference in total number of neurons between individuals ranging from 20 to 90 years old is, however, less than 10 ....

Modularity and Connectivity

To understand how brains might work when people are performing creative acts, we have to understand the modular organization of the brain, and the modular organization of the brain is at least in part dependent on its anatomy. The cerebral cortex is divided into a left and right hemisphere, and these two hemispheres are connected by a structure called the corpus callosum. The corpus callosum allows information to be transferred from one hemisphere to the other see Figure 1.1 . Each hemisphere...