It takes two to tango. Two hemispheres of your brain, that is.
researchers are working to pin down the exact source of creativity in
the brain and have found that the left hemisphere of your brain, thought
to be the logic and math portion, actually plays a critical role in
want to know how does creativity work in the brain?” said Lisa
Aziz-Zadeh, assistant professor of neuroscience at the USC Dornsife
College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
you paint or sculpt, you may think of yourself as right-brained. The
right hemisphere of your brain often is thought to be the creative half,
while the left is thought to be the rational, logical side.
a new study from a team led by Aziz-Zadeh demonstrated that while the
right half of your brain performs the bulk of the heavy lifting when
you’re being creative, it does call for help from the left half of your
study, which focuses on how the brain tackles visual creative tasks,
supports previous findings about how the brain handles musical
by USC graduate student Sook-Lei Liew and USC undergraduate Francesco
Dandekar, the study was posted online last month in Social Cognitive and
“We need both hemispheres for creative processing,” Aziz-Zadeh said.
USC scholar and her team used functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI) to scan the brains of architecture students, who tend to be
being scanned, the subjects were shown three shapes: a circle, a C and
an 8. They then were asked to visualize images that could be made by
rearranging those shapes – for example, a face (with the 8 on its side
to become the eyes, the C on its side to become the smiling mouth and
the circle in the center as the nose).
students also were asked to simply try to piece three geometric shapes
together with their minds and see if they formed a square or a
rectangle—a task that requires similar spatial processing but not
though it mainly was handled by the right hemisphere, the creative task
actually lit up the left hemisphere more than the noncreative task. The
results indicated that the left brain potentially is a crucial
supporter of creativity in the brain.
said she plans to explore more of how different types of creativity
(painting, acting, singing) are created by the brain, what they have in
common and what makes them different.
for the research came from the Brain and Creativity Institute at the
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the USC Division of
Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, the National Science
Foundation and the USC Provost’s Ph.D. Fellowship program.