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Creativity

By scottHJ () on , March 9, 2013.

This is more of a suggested resource than a discussion though discussing the content of the article would be great. The March 2013 Scientific American has an article called: "Evolution of Creativity the rise of the innovative mind" that covers a number of topics related to idea formation in the self and in society. Good synthesis of research from a number of sources--worth reading.

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Re: Creativity
Link? Scott, is this the article you were referring to?

Overview http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-origin-human-creativity-suprisingly-complex

or

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=creativity-roots-human-genius-deeper-than-expected (with links to related stories)

I don't have a subscription or institutional affiliation so can't read the whole article. A pox on pay walls. Searching "scientific american" + creativity turns up a lot of past articles too. March seems to be Scientific American's creativity month. I'm going to search creativity and math/science too since listening to a video on dial up is an exercise in frustration.
By VanessaVaile () on March 11, 2013. [Reply]

Re: Creativity
Yes Vanessa, that's the article. One of the authors cited in the article,

Liane Gabora has papers available on the net like this one:
https://people.ok.ubc.ca/lgabora/papers/CRJ10_neurds.pdf From the
Abstract:

"There is cognitive, neurological, and
computational support for the hypothesis that defocusing attention
results in divergent or associative thought, conducive to insight and
finding unusual connections, while focusing attention results in
convergent or analytic thought, conducive to rule-based operations.
Creativity appears to involve both. It is widely believed that it is
possible to escape mental fixation by spontaneously and temporarily
engaging in a more associative mode of thought. The resulting insight
(if found) may be refined in a more analytic mode of thought."


What
I like is her reference to memory as a repository of all manner data,
some that may have never been consciously noted as it came in. Neurons
also appear to respond to exact recording as well as objects or thoughts
that seem similar or 'resonant' allowing for associations and, no doubt, some odd combinations to appear. So the brain, unlike a computer with fixed addresses, is 'content addressable' and less rigid:

Note
how this differs from a typical computer memory. In a computer memory
each possible input is stored in a unique address. Retrieval is thus a
matter of looking at the address in the address register and fetching
the item at the specified location. Since there is no overlap of
representations, there is no means of creatively forging new
associations based on newly perceived similarities. Even a simple
connectionist memory is able to abstract a prototype, fill in missing
features of a noisy or incomplete pattern, or create a new pattern on
the fly that is more appropriate to the situation than anything it has
ever been fed as input...


The author cites a lot of
references that I need to check but the main thing I get is the delicate
balancing act that allows the brain to identify and interpret beyond
simply matching exactly--in a sense, the ability to make suggestions to itself.

Agree
that paywalls are a pain and normally I wouldn't reference from a
closed source. I remember a used magazine store when I was a kid that
would take orders through a back channel. The retail magazine
distributor would drop last month's mags at the back door on the way to
the dump. Or you could hang around the paper shredding/packaging place
and get some gems. Picked up 10 foot by 35 foot picture of a banana from
a billboard ad there once. Perfect decoration for the entry staircase
walls. Haven't seen a banana that big in years.
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:TimesNewRomanPSMT;
mso-ansi-language:EN-CA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-ansi-language:EN-CA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:EN-US">


By scottHJ () on March 12, 2013. [Reply]

Re: Creativity
Yes Vanessa, that's the article. One of the authors cited in the article,

Liane Gabora has papers available on the net like this one:
https://people.ok.ubc.ca/lgabora/papers/CRJ10_neurds.pdf From the
Abstract:

"There is cognitive, neurological, and
computational support for the hypothesis that defocusing attention
results in divergent or associative thought, conducive to insight and
finding unusual connections, while focusing attention results in
convergent or analytic thought, conducive to rule-based operations.
Creativity appears to involve both. It is widely believed that it is
possible to escape mental fixation by spontaneously and temporarily
engaging in a more associative mode of thought. The resulting insight
(if found) may be refined in a more analytic mode of thought."


What
I like is her reference to memory as a repository of all manner data,
some that may have never been consciously noted as it came in. Neurons
also appear to respond to exact recording as well as objects or thoughts
that seem similar or 'resonant' allowing for associations and, no doubt, some odd combinations to appear. So the brain, unlike a computer with fixed addresses, is 'content addressable' and less rigid:

Note
how this differs from a typical computer memory. In a computer memory
each possible input is stored in a unique address. Retrieval is thus a
matter of looking at the address in the address register and fetching
the item at the specified location. Since there is no overlap of
representations, there is no means of creatively forging new
associations based on newly perceived similarities. Even a simple
connectionist memory is able to abstract a prototype, fill in missing
features of a noisy or incomplete pattern, or create a new pattern on
the fly that is more appropriate to the situation than anything it has
ever been fed as input...


The author cites a lot of
references that I need to check but the main thing I get is the delicate
balancing act that allows the brain to identify and interpret beyond
simply matching exactly--in a sense, the ability to make suggestions to itself.

Agree
that paywalls are a pain and normally I wouldn't reference from a
closed source. I remember a used magazine store when I was a kid that
would take orders through a back channel. The retail magazine
distributor would drop last month's mags at the back door on the way to
the dump. Or you could hang around the paper shredding/packaging place
and get some gems. Picked up 10 foot by 35 foot picture of a banana from
a billboard ad there once. Perfect decoration for the entry staircase
walls. Haven't seen a banana that big in years.
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:TimesNewRomanPSMT;
mso-ansi-language:EN-CA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-ansi-language:EN-CA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:EN-US">


By scottHJ () on March 12, 2013. [Reply]

Re: Creativity
Yes Vanessa, that's the article. One of the authors cited in the article,

Liane Gabora has papers available on the net like this one:
https://people.ok.ubc.ca/lgabora/papers/CRJ10_neurds.pdf From the
Abstract:

"There is cognitive, neurological, and
computational support for the hypothesis that defocusing attention
results in divergent or associative thought, conducive to insight and
finding unusual connections, while focusing attention results in
convergent or analytic thought, conducive to rule-based operations.
Creativity appears to involve both. It is widely believed that it is
possible to escape mental fixation by spontaneously and temporarily
engaging in a more associative mode of thought. The resulting insight
(if found) may be refined in a more analytic mode of thought."


What
I like is her reference to memory as a repository of all manner data,
some that may have never been consciously noted as it came in. Neurons
also appear to respond to exact recording as well as objects or thoughts
that seem similar or 'resonant' allowing for associations and, no doubt, some odd combinations to appear. So the brain, unlike a computer with fixed addresses, is 'content addressable' and less rigid:

Note
how this differs from a typical computer memory. In a computer memory
each possible input is stored in a unique address. Retrieval is thus a
matter of looking at the address in the address register and fetching
the item at the specified location. Since there is no overlap of
representations, there is no means of creatively forging new
associations based on newly perceived similarities. Even a simple
connectionist memory is able to abstract a prototype, fill in missing
features of a noisy or incomplete pattern, or create a new pattern on
the fly that is more appropriate to the situation than anything it has
ever been fed as input...


The author cites a lot of
references that I need to check but the main thing I get is the delicate
balancing act that allows the brain to identify and interpret beyond
simply matching exactly--in a sense, the ability to make suggestions to itself.

Agree
that paywalls are a pain and normally I wouldn't reference from a
closed source. I remember a used magazine store when I was a kid that
would take orders through a back channel. The retail magazine
distributor would drop last month's mags at the back door on the way to
the dump. Or you could hang around the paper shredding/packaging place
and get some gems. Picked up 10 foot by 35 foot picture of a banana from
a billboard ad there once. Perfect decoration for the entry staircase
walls. Haven't seen a banana that big in years.
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:TimesNewRomanPSMT;
mso-ansi-language:EN-CA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">
mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri;mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-ansi-language:EN-CA;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:EN-US">


By scottHJ () on March 12, 2013. [Reply]

Re: Creativity
The disassociation for greater idea generation in the divergent process is a key to good brainstorming sessions.  Another technique is to work the mind so hard that in the last few minutes, reserves are broken down and free association ideas spring forth.  It is often amazing how these mental stimuli and neural techniques help us to be non judgmental in coming up with some solutions to problems.

When we try to work things the same way, to find different paths, we are often constrained to the same path and come up with the same non-working solutions.  There are many different technioques to use that help us break out of old habits and paths ... thanks for highlighting the article that leads us to the process and some of the procedures to use.

It would be great fun to try a guided brainstorming session sometime ... maybe in a Google + Hangout.  Or, maybe I can find someone to do a presentation with a session.  Thanks, Scott, for providing another impetus for new thinking and new learning.
By carol yeager (Carol Yeager) on March 15, 2013. [Reply]

Re: Creativity
Guided brainstorming sounds like an interesting experience Carol. I find that at the end of a day editing online courses on the computer I'll sit there stunned watching myself unable to make another move. As if my brain had enough of being deliberate and freezes. But the watching part seems to almost detach itself and carry on with some pointless task like the running but not moving dreams.

I find it odd that it feels perfectly normal to have more than one thing being "me" at the same time:-) It is useful though when one gets tired, the other doesn't take over like a responsible little brain helper but wanders off to fool around while the other "rests".

Wonder if brainstorming encourages this separation where one brain chugs along creating content while the other hangs waiting grab something interesting and play with it. Be handy if it worked that way. A person could get serious things done with a natural break occasionally to attend to some silliness that was getting out of hand in the next room. Could we induce creativity by switching back and forth, serious to silly? Or just confused?
By scottHJ () on March 18, 2013. [Reply]

Re: Creativity
You raise some interesting and extremely valuable ideas here Scott.  It is in those "gaps" or little mental breaks, that quite often, breakthrough thinking occurs.  The mind wanders and the "control" we tend to exercise over our thought processes (ingrained habits of thiking after years of practiced training) slips and allows "out of the norm" thinking to happen.

When we expect new thinking from the same old practices ... not much new thinking happens.  When we ket down those barriers, it allows new thinking to sneak in, unrestrained.  What we do with that new thinking is often referred to as the "aha" moment, and we can either act upon it, or discard it.  What do you do in these instances?  I like to  see where the new thinking takes me and then find ways to implement that "aha" :)

You bring up the idea of play at the end of your comments ... woo hoo!  Play is a wonderful way to exercise the brain into relaxing, into finding those "aha" moments. into enjoying new discoveries and new thinking.  We allow ourselves some silly thoughts; we let down our natural defenses of "its too silly to work", and ... voila, we give ourselves permission to follow silly ideas, which often turn into good solutions that we overlooked.

These are some of the aspects of guided brainstorming.

I once met a professor of heuretics for engineers.  He held his classes at 8 pm on a Friday night ... can you guess why? :)
By carol yeager (Carol Yeager) on March 19, 2013. [Reply]

Re: Creativity
Imagine that professor thought Friday night might be a time when his students would be less focused on their roles as students and more likely to take risks.

This article came into my email a day after I'd mentioned taking classes at California College of Arts (they dropped the Crafts part form the logo years ago) and though I agree with the premise, the article lacks evidence.

Turn STEM to STEAM: Why Science Needs the Arts
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-beal/turn-stem-to-steam_b_3424356.html

The basic premise that society needs artists to drive the innovation our economy thrives on is fine. The need for artists is especially important to extremely expensive art school presidents who need tuition payers but I wish something a little less on the fuzzy logic side would come from these articles.

Why do we need creative people? Why should creative people care about being needed?
By scottHJ () on July 1, 2013. [Reply]

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