Science, Technology, and the Art of Medicine: European-American Dialogues

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Creativity in art and science: are there two cultures?

Refresh your browser page to run scripts and reload content. Click the Internet Zone. If you do not have to customize your Internet security settings, click Default Level. Then go to step 5. She has been the project manager for the Institute of Tibetan Classics since Combining her NVC background with what she has learned through years of interaction with scientists in the field of brain and learning, in Sophie created and began Ma Classe Zone de Paix , a school program teaching SEL social and emotional learning for children ages She is the co-founder, along with Dr.

She lives in Montreal with her husband and two daughters. Sonia Lupien is the founder and director of the Centre for Studies on Human Stress whose mission is to transfer scientifically validated knowledge on stress to the general public. Her studies have shown that children are as vulnerable as adults to stress and that children as young as age 6 can produce high levels of stress hormones. Her studies in adults have shown that stress can significantly impair memory performance.

In her new research projects, she is working on differences between men and women in stress reactivity, and she is developing new educational programs on stress in adolescents and workers. Anthony Phillips has expertise in brain function and behavior. In he became a member of the Order of Canada. As a hobby, he wrote Animal Migrations Hill and Wang, He first traveled to the Himalayas in and has lived there since , studying with Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, two of the most eminent Tibetan teachers of our times.

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Robert W. His laboratory is devoted to the study of the effects of mindfulness and compassion in education with regard to improving health and wellbeing, teaching and learning, and an equitable and compassion culture in education. She is the recipient of the Joseph E. Aaron Stern is a composer, educator, internationally recognized consultant on learning, and the founder of the Santa Fe, New Mexico-based educational institution, the Academy for the Love of Learning.

He conceived the Academy with musician Leonard Bernstein, and serves as its President and educational leader. Tara Wilkie holds a PhD in cognitive psychology with a special focus on understanding different learning profiles. It is as if the muse sits on my shoulder. We referred to the unconscious memory processes, which were assessed during the resting state, as Random Episodic Silent Thought REST , a title intended to be ironic, given that the brain is highly active during this state.

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We observed that during REST the association cortices were highly active, in comparison with conscious thought. Therefore, we have formulated the hypothesis that the neural basis of creativity may be highly developed association cortices.

Instead, we have based our design on the hypothesis that the creative brain possesses trait-like mental processes that are present even during more mundane thought. Thus we have chosen tasks that will assay the functions of association cortex: eg, word association. We hypothesize that during this relatively simple and menial task, creative individuals will have novel associations and more active association cortices. The stimulus materials are new, locally developed, and programmed in Eprime using a block design.

They were modified in a variety of ways during the debugging phase to ensure that instructions are clear, to produce good behavioral responses and activations that are replicable across individuals, and to maximize efficiency. In order to reduce head movement in the scanner, responses are made silently, with task completion signaled by a button press to measure reaction time and document that the subject is performing the task; behavioral data are collected using a digital recorder in a posttest after the scanning session.

Button presses are performed on locally-developed MR-compatible ergonomic right and left handed four-digit response key pads. Prior to scanning, subjects are given a training session, to ensure that they understand the instructions, are familiar with the nature of the tasks, and are comfortable doing them. During the training they are also exposed to a sound background that duplicates scanner noise so that they are desensitized to it as a distractor. The actual content of training materials is different from those used during the fMR scan, but the design ie, length of blocks, alternating experimental and control tasks, etc is identical to what they will be doing in the scanner.

Subjects repeat the tasks until they are familiar with the material and responses and feel that they can comfortably do the tasks in the scanner. The words used for the word association task consist of nouns and verbs; they were selected from a list of the most commonly used words in English.

Subjects look at the screen and silently say the first word that comes to mind; the control task consists of looking at a two-digit number on the screen and silently saying it. For both tasks subjects signal that they have responded with a button press. Within a run seven blocks of words 12 words each alternate with eight blocks of numbers 10 numbers per block.

For image analysis, scans are corrected for motion using the AFNI algorithm to align each scan to the first image of the first functional scan. Motion is estimated for each subject as the average maximal displacement of subsequent images from the reference image across the six functional scans corresponding to the six runs of the task. Once aligned, the data are normalized by scaling the whole-brain signal intensity to a fixed value of Functional images are aligned to a 3D structural image. Following spatial normalization, individual functional images are averaged together for each of the two groups using a random effects model.

To date we have studied four artists and three scientists using this design. The scientists included one neuroscientist and two molecular biologists. Their imaging data for the Word Association Task appears in Figure 1. Since this is a verbal task, one might expect to see different activity in the artists than in the scientists.

Science, Technology, and the Art of Medicine

However, the images indicate that the generation of word associations recruits similar brain regions in both the artist and the scientist groups. At a basic level, it indicates that creative processing may involve the interactions of several regions between both hemispheres, laying to rest the notion that creativity resides primarily in the right hemisphere.

It also appears that the association cortices are heavily recruited in this task in both groups, involving components that perform a variety of specialized associations. This region of activation extends down to the left inferior frontal gyrus. The bilateral visual cortices have also been invoked in imagery processing in this task in both groups, involving the cuneus and the lingual gyrus. While the involvement of this region is to be expected in visual imagery associated with verbal stimuli, there is increasing evidence that sensory cortices such as the cuneus and lingual gyrus are also involved in multimodal higher-order sensory processing similar to the association cortices as would be relevant to the creative generation of verbal responses.

This is to be expected, given that the artist group is comprised of storytellers working with various media. However, it is novel to report this similar pattern of activation in a group of scientists, stereotyped to be less verbal in their creative genius. Perhaps this intensity of feeling and rich imagination contributes to their passion, creativity, and discovery of new frontiers.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Dialogues Clin Neurosci v. Dialogues Clin Neurosci.

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Introduction The capacity to be creative is one of the most important characteristics that human beings possess. Unitary vs multiple creativities: are there two cultures? The neural mechanisms of creativity Although we have not previously conducted structural sMR or functional fMR magnetic resonance imaging studies in creative individuals, we have studied a closely related phenomenon: thoughts arising from unconscious processes.

Imaging study methods and results The stimulus materials are new, locally developed, and programmed in Eprime using a block design. Open in a separate window. Figure 1.


Patterns of activation during an fMR word association task performed by artists Figure 1a and scientists Figure 1b show strikingly similar patterns of activation in multiple regions of association cortex and areas involved in socioaffective processing. Gardner H. Kounios J. The origins of insight in resting-state brain activity.

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