Why Your Brain is a Creativity Machine (If Used Correctly)

Brain Thinking Creativity

Many think that you’re born creative, or you aren’t. Scientists have been studying to subject of creativity and where exactly it comes from for a long time.

One finding they are sure of is that creativity doesn’t lie in one spot, according to an article in USA Today.

Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC, says that there’s a difference “between creating a painting and creating a new business strategy, writing a symphony or coming up with new ways to comfort a distraught child…they all share the same underpinnings.”

He says that imagination is the cornerstone of creativity. The “childhood imagination” in us that we are so often believed to discard once we turn a certain age, actually is the fundamental building block of what it means to be creative. Exercising the imagination in our brain can increase our level of creativity.

Damasio said that memory is also required to recognize if something is orginial or not. Memory is closely related to emotions, which is also another aspect of creativity.

Although some people may be more creative than others, naturally, some aspects are able to be exercised.

“The brain is a creativity machine. You just need to know how to manipulate your software to make it work for you,” said Shelley Carson, a researcher and lecturer in psychology at Harvard University.

Rules may to be blame for drumming the imagination out of kids in elementary school. It so often is assumed that imagination and rules don’t go hand in hand. But this isn’t true. Composer Bruce Adolphe explains how imagination can be in the form of thinking differently of everyday tasks.

“Start a story with an ordinary moment from their everyday lives—and then add a twist that’s never happened before,” Adolphe says. “They’ll write about brushing their teeth and then a dragon will squeeze out of the toothpaste tube, with the drama taking off from there.”

Here are some tips to enhance your creativity:

  • Exercise your imagination. Play what-if games with yourself, imagining different things happening in the world around you. Then imagine how you would respond if those changes took place
  • Allow yourself time to daydream, think and let your thoughts drift off. Focusing on your internal thoughts and listening to what you mind has to say will allow you to digest your experiences.
  • Try doing something out of the norm. If you aren’t a writer, write a fictional piece. Try to play an instrument. This is cultivating your ability to be in a dreamlike state, according to the article.
  • Get sleep! Studies have shown that sleep hinders creativity.

How do you stay creative?

Photo: Thinkstock


  1. I tend to be far more creative in the morning right when I wake up, then in the late afternoon – however, my creativity actually picks right back up right before I go to sleep, so I keep my phone and paper/pen next to my bed to write down my ideas! Works perfectly! 🙂 I also editing videos (which is definitely brain stimulating) and I also play a lot of brain stimulating games on my phone 🙂


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