Can sitting in front of a light box increase your creativity? [YES] How about listening to Bach’s Italian Concerto in F major? [NO]. These are crucial questions to the survival of humans. We need to find ways to unlock our creativity, both as individuals and as a species, if we are to adapt to the challenges and dangers, as well as the opportunities, of the accelerated-change climate of the 21st century. Creativity is not only for artists, musicians, and mad scientists. This original and useful book presents a program to understand and increase your creativity in seven specific stages of mind.
1. The Open Brainset: This state is necessary for the knowledge-gathering and incubation stages of the creative process.
2. The Scan Brainset: Focusing your attention on finding a specific bit of information. This state is necessary to locate the available pieces of the informational material that will complete your creative puzzle.
3. The Think Brainset: Consciously manipulating information in your working memory to solve a problem. This is the state of purposeful planning comprises most of our day-to-day conscious mental activity.
4. The Vision Brainset: Thinking visually rather than verbally. You see patterns emerge. In this brainset you tend to think metaphorically as you “see” the similarities between disparate concepts.
5. The Appraise Brainset: When you access the appraise brainset, you consciously judge the value of ideas, concepts, products, behaviors, or individuals. This is the “critical eye” of mental activity.
6. The Stream Brainset: The stream brainset is associated with the production of creative material, such as jazz improvisation, narrative writing (as in novels or short stories), sculpting or painting, and the step-by-step revelation of scientific discovery.
7. The Goal Brainset: When in this brainset, you may feel pushed or “driven” to accomplish your goals. This state is necessary to maintain incentive to complete your creative project.
Readers will learn which parts of the brain are “hot” during each of the seven brainsets, plus quizzes, exercises, and self-tests to activate each of the seven brainsets.
About the Author
Shelley Carson, Ph.D., teaches, conducts research, and publishes on the topics of creativity, psychopathology, and resilience at Harvard University. Her work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, CNN, and NPR, and she has won multiple teaching awards for her popular course Creativity: Madmen, Geniuses, and Harvard Students.
Table of Contents
Meet Your Creative Brain 1
1 Wanted: Your Creative Brain 3
Why activating your creativity is important to individual andsocietal well-being
2 Your Mental Comfort Zone 13
Introduction to the seven brainsets
Fun quizzes to determine which brainset is your mental comfortzone
3 Tour Your Creative Brain 39
Brief introduction to the parts of brain that are important tothe creative process
4 Brainsets and the Creative Process 55
Description of the stages that comprise both the deliberate andthe spontaneous creative process
Training Your Creative Brain 71
5 Opening the Mind: Accessing the Absorb Brainset 73
Access externally and internally generated information with anuncritical eye
6 Imagining the Possibilities: Accessing the EnvisionBrainset 103
Use the power of mental imagery to construct creative ideas
7 Thinking Divergently: Accessing the Connect Brainset123
Associate novel information to produce a multitude of ideas
8 Shaping the Creative Idea: Accessing the Reason Brainset155
Consciously work through a creative “problem”
9 Recognizing Useful Ideas: Accessing the Evaluate Brainset181
Evaluate creative ideas for appropriateness
10 Using Emotion Creatively: Accessing the Transform Brainset207
Put your negative emotions to work for you
11 Performing Creatively: Accessing the Stream Brainset233
Practice skill-appropriate improvisation
Putting the CREATES Strategies to Work 257
12 Flexing Your Creative Brain 259
Exercises for switching between brainsets to enhance cognitiveflexibility
13 Applying the Brainsets to Real-World Creativity279
Tips for using the brainsets in all stages of the creativeprocess
1 How to Score the CREATES Brainsets Assessment 293
2 The Token Economy System 305
3 The Daily Activities Calendar 309
About the Author 357
About Harvard Medical School 358