Sunday, October 28, 2007

Feeling kinda brainy

When I switched my main blog from the Ontario Empoblog to mrontemp, I didn't carry across all the blogs that I was reading in the past.

So I've had to rediscover eringoblog.

One of Erin's recent posts linked to this test.

Turns out (if the test is accurate) that I am right-brained also. In fact, I'm having trouble figuring out how anyone could see the dancer turning around counter-clockwise.

I remember years ago that my high school math teacher commented that I think spatially, but I didn't really think about it.

Truemors addressed the issue from a different angle recently:

Scientists at Northwestern University are using EEG to compare the brain activity of creative and non-creative people to understand different approaches to problem-solving. Creatives displayed greater brain activity in the right hemisphere and showed different activity to methodical thinkers in the areas that process visual information.

On to Newswise:

[S]ome researchers [have argued] that what we call “creative thought” and “noncreative thought” are not basically different. If this is the case, then people who are thought of as creative do not really think in a fundamentally different way from those who are thought of as noncreative. On the other side of this debate, some researchers have argued that creative thought is fundamentally different from other forms of thought. If this is true, then those who tend to think creatively really are somehow different.

In the study,

The participants were...divided into two groups – those who reported solving the problems mostly by sudden insight, and those who reported solving the problems more methodically – and resting-state brain activity for these groups was compared. As predicted, the two groups displayed strikingly different patterns of brain activity during the resting period at the beginning of the experiment....

One difference was that the creative solvers exhibited greater activity in several regions of the right hemisphere. Previous research has suggested that the right hemisphere of the brain plays a special role in solving problems with creative insight, likely due to right-hemisphere involvement in the processing of loose or “remote” associations between the elements of a problem, which is understood to be an important component of creative thought. The current study shows that greater right-hemisphere activity occurs even during a “resting” state in those with a tendency to solve problems by creative insight. This finding suggests that even the spontaneous thought of creative individuals, such as in their daydreams, contains more remote associations.

Second, creative and methodical solvers exhibited different activity in areas of the brain that process visual information. The pattern of “alpha” and “beta” brainwaves in creative solvers was consistent with diffuse rather than focused visual attention. This may allow creative individuals to broadly sample the environment for experiences that can trigger remote associations to produce an Aha! Moment. For example, a glimpse of an advertisement on a billboard or a word spoken in an overheard conversation could spark an association that leads to a solution. In contrast, the more focused attention of methodical solvers reduces their distractibility, allowing them to effectively solve problems for which the solution strategy is already known, as would be the case for balancing a checkbook or baking a cake using a known recipe.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to check my Twitters...or act like my dog and look at a bug. Or something.


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