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Know Your Brain

By Peter Lloyd

You already know, of course, that your brain is your core creativity tool. If you’re the kind of person who feels more comfortable using tools you understand—whether you read the entire manual before using a tool or resort to the instructions only in case of emergency—I think you will find the following survey helpful.

You and Your Brain
Your brain brings you consciousness. But the mystery of identity—what it is and where it comes from—continues to fascinate scientists and philosophers. Research suggests now that your brain controls your identity in a way that might surprise you. That is, it tricks you into thinking you have one and only one identity that controls your thinking and action, while a sort of “parliament of pieces and parts and subsystems, a democratic team of rivals” actually does so: Your brain creates your sense of self, incognito.

As you would expect, the more you use your brain, the better it gets. Now we’ve learned, the more you use a particular part of your brain during the day, the deeper it sleeps at night: Brain regions sleep more deeply when used more. And like sleep, meditation also affects your brain: Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks.

Music and Your Brain
People who make music have better brains: Musicians’ Brains Highly Developed. We know more now about how jazz musicians improvise: Study of jazz musicians reveals how the brain processes improvisations. And what it means to make rhythm: Beat it: how the brain perceives rhythm.

Helping Your Brain Learn
We’re learning more about learning. First, we learn better by using more areas of our brains: Swapping ‘dance partners’ in the brain is key to learning. Stimulating certain parts of the brain can enhance learning: Brain Nerve Stimulation Could Speed Up Learning. It’s clear that mistakes teach us. Here’s how: Trial and error: The brain learns from mistakes.

Magnetic stimulation may very well help you take your brain game up a notch: Learn more quickly by transcranial magnetic brain stimulation. And transcranial magnetic stimulation has also identified what part of the brain dampens distraction: Easily distracted people may have too much brain. Naturally scientists have put what they’ve learned into a device that promotes creativity: ‘Thinking cap’ makes brain waves in Australia.

Your Brain on Alcohol
I was very surprised to learn that alcohol can help you remember: Can Alcohol Help the Brain Remember?. So how do they explain those lost weekends?

photo of shelley carsonYour Creative Brain
Finally, Shelley Carson offers a book about creativity and the brain. Based on solid research, Your Creative Brain helps you understand how you use your brain and how to make the most of your unique brainsets. Without an Australian thinking cap.

Peter Lloyd is co-creator with Stephen R. Grossman of Animal Crackers, the breakthrough problem-solving tool designed to crack your toughest problems.

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