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There has been long-standing interest in the biological bases of creativity and genius throughout history. Much of the earlier work in this area involved efforts to understand the genetic bases of creativity. More recently, however, and due in major part to technological advances in modern neuroimaging and theoretical advances in psychology, the focus has shifted to studying the relationship between creativity and brain structure and function – represented by a burgeoning discipline referred to as the neuroscience of creativity. Because it is always important to understand the historical roots of ideas, I will review some important early ideas introduced by Sir Francis Galton that were meant to measure the heritability of genius. I will argue that creativity is most likely an emergenic trait, meaning that it is expressed in a number of independent subtraits or abilities that are simultaneously present in a person. This idea holds also for the neurological bases of creativity, because at the level of the brain, it has also been shown that creativity emerges not as a function of a single brain region, process, or mechanism but rather as an emergent property of the dynamic interplay between spontaneous and controlled processes. In this sense, the neural bases of creativity also appear to be componential. In this chapter, I will conduct a selective review of some of the key empirical work from neuroimaging to highlight the contributions of this research to our understanding of creativity. Toward that end, I will review findings from early brain-mapping approaches and will end with presenting contemporary models based on network dynamics (i.e., interactions among networks).
Imagination – either explicitly or implicitly – plays an important role in contemporary conceptions of creativity. In contrast, imagination has not been given the same weight in most mainstream modern models of aesthetic experience. I argue that imagination is an important component of aesthetic experience in at least two ways. First, imagination likely guides our search for meaning when interacting with artworks. It can do so by driving our search for the underlying concepts and causes that originated the artwork, as well as facilitating internally generated thoughts. Second, imagination can facilitate transitions from states of uncertainty to states of increased predictability in the course of interacting with artworks. As such, models of aesthetic experience would benefit by explicitly incorporating imagination into their frameworks.
Overweight and obesity are universal health challenges. Recent evidence emphasises the potential benefits of addressing psychological factors associated with obesity in dietary programmes. This pilot study investigated the efficacy and acceptability of a combined online and face-to-face dietary intervention that used self-compassion, goal-setting and self-monitoring to improve dietary behaviour, as well as psychological factors associated with dietary behaviour.
Embedded mixed methods including a 4-week before-after trial and a one-on-one interview. Quantitative outcomes of the study were the levels of self-compassion; eating pathology; depression, anxiety and stress; and dietary intake. Qualitative outcomes were participants’ perceptions about the acceptability of the intervention.
UNSW Kensington campus.
Fourteen participants with overweight and obesity aged between 18 and 55 years old.
Results showed that the intervention significantly improved self-compassion and some aspects of dietary intake (e.g. decrease in energy intake) at Week Four compared with Week Zero. Some aspects of eating pathology also significantly decreased (e.g. Eating Concern). However, changes in self-compassion over the 4 weeks did not significantly predict Week Four study outcomes, except for level of stress. Most participants found self-compassion, goal-setting and self-monitoring to be essential for dietary behaviour change. However, participants also indicated that an online programme needed to be efficient, simple and interactive.
In conclusion, the current study provides preliminary but promising findings of an effective and acceptable combined online and face-to-face intervention that used self-compassion, goal-setting and self-monitoring to improve dietary habits. However, the results need to be examined in future long-term randomised controlled trials.
Over the last two decades, knowledge about brain structure and function has improved our understanding of the psychology of creativity. Importantly, contributions from cognitive neuroscience to our understanding of the psychology of creativity have been accelerated due to parallel advances in theoretical and methodological approaches to the scientific study of creativity. Chief among these have been the appreciation of the roles of personality, attention and memory, fluid intelligence, and executive functions to creative cognition. The evidence to date suggests that creativity is an emergent property of the dynamic interplay between spontaneous and controlled processes in the brain. In this chapter, I conduct a selective review of some of the key empirical work from neuropsychology, neuroimaging, and experimental psychology to highlight the contributions of this burgeoning field to our understanding of creativity. I will also highlight some of the limitations of the cognitive neuroscience approach to studying creativity and emphasize the need for a holistic research program for a more complete understanding of this multifaceted phenomenon.