ECCENTRIC CREATIVITY

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” ~Albert Einstein

Pretty much everyone is familiar with the phrase “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” Well apparently, this is truer than anyone previously thought. People characterized by odd behavior and language rely more heavily on the right sides of their brains than the rest of the population. This means that they are more likely to be creative than most people, leading to individuals like Mozart, Einstein, Newton, and van Gogh.

It has been known for a long while that these more eccentric personalities are more creative, but no one has looked into the behavioral manifestations how they experimentally correlate to neurological function. Psychologist recently conducted two experiments to compare the creative thinking processes of eccentric personlities against overt schizophrenics, and used normal people as control subjects. The results were interesting: schizophrenics and normal people performed comparably to one another when performing creative tasks, while the eccentric personalities tended to excel at creative thinking.

The experiment involved monitoring the prefrontal lobe of the brain while asked to identify new uses for household objects. The results showed that all groups used both brain hemispheres for creative tasks, but that the right side activity of the eccentric personalities was far greater than the normal controls and the schizophrenics. Although creativity requires the use of both hemispheres to come up with anything coherent.

The “coherency” stems from the left side of the brain which identifies objects with their common use, while the right brain might suggest a different use for a given object. To simplify things, it is up to the left brain to temper the right side’s suggestion to keep it within the bounds of reality.

“Thinking outside the box” behavior can be learned. Most people ignore most creative input, opting instead to do the normal thing with the normal tools at hand. Perhaps this is why children are so much more creative than adults most of the time: young children haven’t learned the social value of conformity. And it is this nonconformity creative input that eccentric personalities exhibit that cause them to be labelled “abnormal.”

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. ~ Krisnamurti

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