What does solving a financial dilemma, remodeling a house, crafting a speech, and even dressing up your dogs and playing make-believe with your kids have in common? All these activities can benefit from the use of creative thinking. In other words, creative thinking isn’t just for writers and artists.
So what do we know about the mysterious process of creativity?
In the sixties, Dr. Sarnoff Mednick concluded that creativity is the result of connecting random bits of information to create new and original ideas. He went on to say that the more remote the bits of information are from each other, the more creative the idea.
Today, neuroscientists are discovering that, in the brain, that’s what creative thinking actually looks like.
In the brain, neuron cells are greyish in color, while the axons that connect neurons to each other are white. These axons—called white matter—create the pathways in our brain through which thoughts and information are communicated. In other words, more white matter means more communication going on in the brain.
Researchers and scientists, led by Drs. Hikaru Takeuchi and Yasuyuki Taki, measured the connectivity in the brains of 42 men and 13 women. What they discovered was that people who tested high in creativity also had more white matter connecting remote parts of their brain where diverse information is stored. The authors concluded that integrated white matter across broad regions of the brain underlie creativity by allowing us to do exactly what Dr. Mednick described: connect random bits of information to come up with new and original ideas.
Even better, the authors of the study say training that develops working memory can strengthen and increase the tracts of white matter in our brains! LearningRx clients, by working one-on-one with a LearningRx brain trainer, receive training that does exactly that: target and strengthen working memory, as well as six other core cognitive skills in the brain. In fact, after LearningRx brain training, kids, teens and adults who struggle with working memory are able to improve that skill by an average of 31 percentile points, and even clients who come to LearningRx with above-average working memories see an average gain of 13 percentile points.
Whether you’re crunching numbers, remodeling a house, crafting a speech, sculpting a statue, writing The Great American Novel or even just raising kids, being able to think creatively is important. And one-on-one brain training can help you strengthen the neural connections that make creative thinking possible.