How Innovators’ Brains Wired To Achieve Optimal Creativity

Is creativity the result of neural connection?


You may hear a lot of the left and right brain system. The left brain is thought to be the origin of analytical thinking. While the right brain is believed to be responsible for creative thinking.

The idea is so simple to comprehend making it popular for decades. Unfortunately, the brain’s mechanism is more complex than this binary system. The old belief is found to be a myth.

In recent years, using brain scans, neuroscientists begin to understand that the brain works as a whole. Creativity, for instance, is not a result of one region’s function. It is a collaborative output of different regions that in most cases work differently.

Over the decades, fMRI technology helped the scientists to understand how the brain works. Neuroscientists were able to compare the brain of writers and artists.

The findings were unanimous. Creative thinking involves numerous regions of the brain that usually don’t work together. It is the unique neural integration that produces a unique output.

The researchers found three brain networks that are responsible for creative thoughts.

  1. The default network – responsible for brainstorming and daydreaming
  2. Executive control network – responsible for focus
  3. The salience network – responsible for detecting external stimuli and switching from executive and default network

What is the importance of these networks?

Roger Beaty, the leading author of a study has the explanation. “It’s the synchrony between these systems that seem to be important for creativity.”

The brain regions work together when you engage in creative thinking. “People who think more flexibly and come up with more creative ideas are better to engage these networks that don’t typically work together and bring these systems online,” Beaty added.

Using fMRI the scientists were able to predict how creative a person could be. “…we found that based on how strong the connections are in this network, we could guess pretty accurately how creative you’re going to be on a task,” said Beaty.

Despite the fascinating findings, one question remains unraveled. Can we train our brain to strengthen the connection between regions that are responsible for creativity?

To date, no one really knows if it is possible or not. “Creativity is complex, and we’re only scratching the surface here, so there’s much more work that’s needed,” concluded Beaty.