(Mixed media in progress…)
I’ve been reading and listening to Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine How Creativity Works. I listened to it last summer with the hens in the forest. They weren’t hugely impressed with Jonah but I really like him so I bought his book too. Anyway, the bit I was re-listening to this weekend was about the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Rather than try, I’ll let Jonah explain it….
“While the DLPFC has many talents, it’s most closely associated with impulse control. This is the bit of neural matter that keeps each of us from making embarrassing confessions, or grabbing food, or stealing from a store.”
(after I heard him say this I highlighted it)
Sounds good, right? Well yes and no…. Most of the time it’s a good idea not to be too impulsive. But what if you’re learning to draw or paint or what if you just want to create a beautiful get well card? What if you want to write something interesting or design something that pleases you? Well, at times like that impulse control is your biggest critic and your biggest enemy. In all fairness it’s trying to protect you from something embarrassing – a silly drawing, an aspiration to write a book, a childish necklace – very scary possibilities.
(….playing with disposable….)
Turns out the DLPFC is the last brain area to fully develop, that explains why small children have no problem throwing a tantrum in a crowded shop. It also explains why they love their art! No impulse control… no critic. The good news is Jonah tells us about a study where just asking the adult subjects to think of themselves as seven-year olds (and spend a little time writing as their seven-year old self) caused them then to score higher on creativity tasks.
I’m off to play…. Mairead.
P.S. it’s Sunday afternoon as I write ✓