Research suggests that mummy whales whisper to their baby calfs using grunts and soft squeaks. Elephants can be trained to paint.
Furthermore, a well-studied collie named chaser, was able to differentiate between over a thousand toys and was able to retrieve specific ones based on spoken commands alone.
Human creativity knows no bounds
Nature and the animal kingdom are submersed with intelligence. People do not have a monopoly on ingenuity. The kind of creativity humans have, no creature comes close to matching it.
We are a specie that thrive on invention, novelty and exploring the unknown. We love juxtaposing ideas, looking for fresh means of expression and newfangled tools, technologies and products.
The question is, where does creativity comes from? Researchers believe human innate ingenuity is a result of the complexity of our brain, which is the most flexible computational structure in the whole universe.
Neurologist believes that inventiveness is woven into the brain. If so, are the brains of those who are exceptionally creative wired differently? Similarly, is it possible to train ourselves to be more creative? To raise a baby genius? Or through biohacks supercharge ourselves through nutrition to be more creative?
Here are five discoveries that may help unleash your inner Einstein.
1. Yes, the creative brain really is wired differently
The mind used to be a black box, but the breakthrough of brain imaging technology has allowed researchers to peer into the cortex as it solves problems, ponders ethical decisions and makes creative leaps.
Roger Beaty a Havard psychologist who conducted a study on creativity using brain scans revealed that “People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don’t typically work together.”
In his view, there are 3 different neural networks involved in creativity;
• The default mode: This is the part of the brain (rooted in regions like the hippocampus) that handles stored memories.
• The salience network: This consists of several regions in the brain (largely rooted in the insular cortex) that help tell us which ideas and stimuli are emotionally relevant to us.
• The executive function: This part of the brain (found in the prefrontal cortex) is responsible for focusing our conscious attention as we sift through possibilities that look promising while discarding ones that do not.
Beaty explains that “It’s the synchrony between these systems that seems to be important for creativity. People who think more flexibly and come up with more creative ideas are better able to engage these networks that don’t typically work together and bring these systems online.”
Some neuro-scientist believes that activities like meditation, tai chi and yoga can promote neural integration.
2. You can raise a baby genius
Scientific papers contend that intelligence is 85 percent inherited, and the other 15% is due to non-genetic factors (environment). However, it is a well-documented fact that fetal environment can influence a child’s cognitive development.
For example, breastfed babies have about 4 points more IQ on average than bottle-fed babies.
Furthermore, studies also show that omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants – rich foods (wild-caught salmon and blueberries respectively) boost prenatal neural development.
Next to singing, storytelling and talking to your baby (early and often), good nutrition is the next most vital thing you can do to promote their cognitive development.
3. Creativity is tied to neuroplasticity
Our brains are constantly responding by rewiring themselves in response to environmental stimuli. As you read this, small changes are taking place in your brain, and in some way, neurons are connected.
Scientist believes creativity is intricately tied to cognitive flexibility, this is the ability of our neural architecture to change and adapt to new circumstances and challenges.
The opposite is a form of mental rigidity, which does not embrace innovation, uniqueness or novelty.
How can you boost your cognitive flexibility that underlies creativity? A social psychologist, Adam Galinsky, who lectures at the Columbia Business School, stated that “foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.”
4. Trying something new can boost brain power
Getting into a mental rut is quite easy. Engaging in an hobby, studying a new language, learning a musical instrument or embarking on an athletic challenge can reactivate rain regions that have been dormant a long time.
Re-experiencing a sense of play, which often times happen when you take up new interests, can be thrilling on so many levels.
For example, the physical activity associated with picking up a musical instrument stimulates the development of new neurons, and your imagination and subconscious awaken to a sense of new possibilities.
Creativity is all about making new neural connections. There is no better way of sparkling these linkages than physical and mental activities that take you out of your comfort zones.
5. Anxiety may actually help you
“Necessity is the mother of invention” most creative geniuses out there are anything but stable. They have been wracked with inner-friction, anxiety and self-doubt.
Part of their anguish stems from the fact that they are unwilling to go with the flow and accept status quo. They view the world from a different perspective, they imagine numerous possibilities, but can scarcely explain it to others.
Bill Moyers a journalist has this to say about creativity “creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.” It’s what Les Paul a musical genius did when he detached the wires from his mom’s phone and connected them to a piece of railroad track that he fastened under the strings of a conventional (hollow-bodied) guitar.
As a matter of fact, Les Paul was a teenager when he invented the modern electric guitar single handedly, an instrument that eventually changed the face of music.
His idea was branded as impractical and ridiculous by instrument makers and the executives he first shared his device with.
Creativity undoubtedly involves neuroplasticity, it also entails the ability to overcome and channel inner friction.
Inventiveness comprises of the constructive solutions that people discover from being faced with challenges that most people will avoid.