NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym
NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym

How to boost your creativity and cognitive flexibility

Email sent: Jul 31, 2020 2:52pm

Is this your brand on Milled? You can claim it.

Although creativity has long been considered a gift for a select few, psychologists now reveal that we all possess its seeds.
NeuroGym News
July 31, 2020

Have you ever seen a successful business that never made any changes?

Sure, you might get away with running a business without course corrections for a while . . . But that’s only in the rare cases where your market hardly changes overtime . . .  And, even then, failing to adapt often leads to a steady decline rather than growth.

As we've seen, every market in the world is currently changing at the fastest pace in history . . . 

So you’re far more likely to grow your business if you consider how the market is changing and adjust accordingly, right?

If it’s been a little too long since you refreshed your business strategy OR if you never had a well thought out business strategy in the first place . . . 

Join us Thursday, August 6 for a brand new interactive training called The 5 Day Business Breakthrough Challenge in 5 days or less. You got this! 

How to Boost Your Creativity and Cognitive Flexibility

The contributions of creative thought can directly translate into business or career advancement . . . as well as financial rewards. (Just ask any successful entrepreneur.)

In an unfavorable economic climate, raising your creative game may mark the difference between success and ruination. 

Psychologists broadly define creativity as the purposeful generation and implementation of a novel idea. In the workplace, it may be more aptly characterized as the effortful pursuit and implementation of novelty that results in measurably useful outcomes.

In numerous studies over the past few decades psychologists have tried to unravel the mysteries of exceptional creativity in the arts or sciences, considering the likes of Pablo Picasso, Mozart, Virginia Woolf, the Wright brothers, and Albert Einstein.

These investigations, along with others into the origins of everyday problem solving, have uncovered genetic, social, and economic factors (as well as lucky circumstances) that contribute to creative thought.

Although creativity has long been considered a gift of a select minority, psychologists now reveal that we all possess its seeds in mental processes such as decision making, language, and memory.

Yay! We can all boost our creative potential . . . 

When people consider creativity, they generally think of the birth of novel ideas. Idea generation is indeed the first important stage of the creative process. To come up with new ideas for achieving a goal, you need, roughly speaking, an open mind—that is, one guided by minimal rules and constraints.

In 2009 neuroscientist Sharon Thompson-Schill of the University of Pennsylvania and her colleagues proposed that creative inspiration might benefit from a state of lower cognitive control—that is, fewer restrictions on your thoughts and behavior. (SOURCE)

Your more prosaic, rule-guided thought is associated with a burst of activity in your prefrontal cortex, a region on the surface of the brain behind your forehead that regulates your decisions, thoughts, and actions.

When you abandon rules or blur your attentional focus, this region quiets down. Thompson-Schill’s team called this resulting state hypofrontality and hypothesize that it holds various benefits for language learning and creative thought . . . among other aspects of cognition.

Researchers found early hints of hypofrontality in the mid-1990s when they measured the electrical activity in the brains of people who were generating new ideas.

By picking up electrical waves on the scalp, scientists can get a sense of a person’s “brain state,” say, awake or asleep, focused or relaxed.

When someone is engaged in a task that requires cognitive control and focused attention—for instance, solving a math problem or deciding what to pack for a camping trip—so-called beta waves, which oscillate at a frequency of 15 to 20 hertz, usually dominate.

When people came up with new ideas, however, researchers recorded alpha waves over the prefrontal cortex. These eight- to 12-hertz waves are typically a sign of relaxed wakefulness and diffuse attention. Their presence thus bolstered the notion that idea generation is associated with a state of lower cognitive control. (SOURCE)

In addition to idea generation, true creativity involves evaluating your options, picking the best one, and implementing a plan for realizing your vision. This evaluation process, a critical stage of creative thought, involves a mental state in which the cognitive filter in the prefrontal cortex is on instead of off.

In a study published in 2011 psychologist, Kalina Christoff of the University of British Columbia and her colleagues asked college students from the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver to generate illustrations for book covers on a special drawing tablet while inside a brain scanner.

The students were asked to come up with ideas for their sketches for 30 seconds and then spend 20 seconds evaluating what they had sketched.

The researchers found that the prefrontal cortex, among other regions, was more active during the evaluation stage, suggesting that the executive-control network that filters data and exerts brakes on behavior is more engaged during the evaluative phase of the creative process. (SOURCE)

Creative individuals may thus be those who are better able to upregulate or downregulate their cognitive-control system depending on the demands of the situation—a skill known as cognitive flexibility.

In a 2010 study Darya Zabelina and Michael Robinson, both then at North Dakota State University, first assessed the creativity of 50 undergraduate students using standard paper-and-pencil tests and then measured their capacity for cognitive control with the Stroop task. 

In this task, people are given a list of color words (“yellow,” “blue,” “red,” and so on) that are typed in a color that often does not match the word. The goal is to state the color of the word regardless of what the word says.

The task measures how well a person can filter out irrelevant information to focus on what is important, a major feature of cognitive control.

Although creative and noncreative subjects performed equally well on this task overall, creative subjects did better every time they had to switch from a matching combination (for instance, the word “red” appearing in red type) to a clashing one (“red” showing up in blue letters).

The results indicate that creative people show greater cognitive flexibility, which can support the ability to both generate novel ideas and put these ideas into action. (SOURCE)

Need a creative boost for your cognitive flexibility?





NeuroGym   PO Box 5005 #138    Rancho Santa Fe,  California   92067   United States

You received this email because you are subscribed to Newsletter Email Subscription from NeuroGym.

Update your email preferences to choose the types of emails you receive.

 Unsubscribe from all future emails 

Other emails from NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym

NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym
Aug 8, 2020
Be the hero in the story
NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym
Aug 7, 2020
Why we sometimes get so negative
NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym
Aug 7, 2020
Your business dream seems impossible? Must read...
NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym
Aug 6, 2020
[Starts Today] 5 Day Business Breakthrough Challenge
NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym
Aug 5, 2020
Tomorrow's the day!
NeuroGym, LLC: neurogym
Aug 5, 2020
A HUGE opportunity is coming…