To be quite honest, I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘creative’ person. You’ll hear people say they think of themselves as more left-brained: logical, practical, analytical, and realistic. I fall into this category. Then you’ll also hear people say they’re more right-brained: creative, imaginative, passionate and poetic.1

Well, forget all that left/right brain mumbo jumbo – at least when it comes to the process of creativity. Currently, neuroscientists are investigating and discovering the true process of creativity that happens in our minds, which used to be thought of as a one-sided function of the brain. But in fact, it doesn’t involve one single region or single side of the brain.Instead, the entire creative process– from the initial burst of inspiration to the final polished product– uses many interacting cognitive processes and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different areas of the brain are recruited to handle the task. 1

So, this is good news for anyone who thinks they are more ‘one-sided’ than the other – we all have the potential to be creative. Not that I needed research to tell me that, but I guess that was my left side talking (oops).  After reading cognitive psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman’s blog post the Real Neuroscience of Creativity, I was left questioning my own creativity, or lack thereof.   Slowly, I’m discovering that I do have a creative side, as everyone does.

From a medical and healthcare communications perspective, I see how creativity constantly plays a role in the work that we do. Some people might think science is intimidating, bland, cold, and complicated, but it’s not at all! How we create and communicate complex information is an art in itself. Being crafty and creative in our communications of important topics to different audiences is essential in targeting engagement and understanding.

The ability to create is in all of us, you just have to find something you enjoy that stimulates your mind in the right environment for that creativity to shine and flow. It’s an extension of who you are, so just be true to yourself and have fun. I’ve realized that exercising your mind and allowing yourself to be creative is just as important as keeping in shape or eating properly and should be part of living a healthy and balanced life. Research shows creativity works the mind, but a wise friend said to me that “creativity comes not from the mind, but from the heart,” and that’s something worth keeping in mind as I create my little heart out, as I hope you do too!

Karen Lee

References 

  1. Kaufman, S. B. The Real Neuroscience of Creativity. Scientific American. August 19, 2013. Available at: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/08/19/the-real-neuroscience-of-creativity/