Creativity: the biological origins, myths, and truths

Creativity - our ability to imagine and bring into existence something new - is probably the most remarkable feature of human cognition. It is at the core of scientific innovation and drives art in all its forms; it is what explains progress, revolutions, crises and their resolution. But how does it work? What do we know about what creativity is, who has it, and what we can do to enhance it?
Creativity:  Creativity - our ability to imagine and bring into existence something new - is probably the most remarkable feature of human cognition. [Wikimedia Commons]
Creativity: Creativity - our ability to imagine and bring into existence something new - is probably the most remarkable feature of human cognition. [Wikimedia Commons]

Creativity: Creativity - our ability to imagine and bring into existence something new - is probably the most remarkable feature of human cognition. It is at the core of scientific innovation and drives art in all its forms; it is what explains progress, revolutions, crises and their resolution. But how does it work? What do we know about what creativity is, who has it, and what we can do to enhance it?

With its 14th “Behind and Beyond the Brain” Symposium, the BIAL Foundation seeks to address such questions by gathering prominent neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, and artists and engaging them in a profoundly interdisciplinary dialogue over the course of a rich program extending over four days.

The first session will take place on the morning of April 4th. Moderated by Caroline Watt (Edinburgh, UK), it will be dedicated to the foundations of creativity. In this session, experts in the art and science of creativity will explore the biological origins of creativity and consider both the myths and the truths of creativity.

Nicola Clayton and Mark Baldwin (Cambridge, UK) will first explore how movement, for instance through dance, enables creativity. Mental time travel refers to the subjective experience of recalling the past and imagining the future. It is about projecting the self in time, reflecting on where we have been and where we are going in space and time. Memories are not fixed repositories of the past but move in flexible ways because they evolved with the future in mind. Nicola Clayton and Mark Baldwin, working together for 15 years, will address these concepts scientifically and artistically in an engaging talk.

Next, Christine Simmonds-Moore (West Georgia, US) will overview the cognitive mechanisms of creativity, focusing on the interplay between individual differences, states of consciousness, and other factors in terms of creativity and exceptional experiences. Amory Danek (Heidelberg, DE) will discuss the neural basis of creativity, providing an overview of contemporary efforts to understand human problem-solving and creativity.

The session will close with a keynote lecture by Anna Abraham (Georgia, US), who will address fundamental aspects of creativity by debunking some myths we entertain about it. Is the right hemisphere the seat of the creative brain? Do psychedelic drugs enhance creativity? Does mental illness accompany creativity? These are some of the many polemic questions about creativity that have long been of interest to researchers and the general public alike. AlphaGalileo/SP

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