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Brain Creativity – Where Does It Come From?

Brain Creativity – Where Does It Come From?

Brain Creativity - Where Does It Come From

Creativity is a vital aspect of human intelligence that has enabled us to achieve some of the most remarkable feats in human history. However, understanding where creativity comes from has been a topic of debate among scholars and researchers for decades. In this article, we will delve deep into the brain’s creative process, exploring the various theories and models that explain where creativity comes from.

The brain is split into two halves, a right, and a left hemisphere. Both have their own specialized way of thinking. The left side is the cold, analytical part of the brain whereas the right is the creative, emotional side of the brain. For more about left vs right thinking and dominance tests, check here.

So traditionally we say that our brain creativity flows forward from the right hemisphere of the brain but as we will see, to be truly creative it takes efforts from both hemispheres of the brain. That’s right, you gotta use the whole thing!

Understanding the Creative Process

Before delving into where creativity comes from, it’s essential to understand the creative process. Creativity involves the generation of new and original ideas that can manifest in various forms, including art, music, literature, science, and technology. The creative process is typically divided into four stages, which are:


This is the stage where the creator prepares their mind for the creative process. This stage involves research, gathering of information, brainstorming, and organizing thoughts.


During the incubation stage, the creator takes a break from actively thinking about the project. This stage allows the brain to subconsciously process the information gathered during the preparation stage.


This is the ‘Eureka’ moment, where the creator experiences an epiphany or breakthrough in their thinking. This stage can be described as a sudden burst of inspiration.


The final stage involves refining and developing the idea to ensure it meets the desired outcome.

Left and Right Brains Pitch In

little_brain_creativityThe right side of the brain may be the actual creative engine, churning out ideas but it can’t do it alone. The left brain has to frame the problem or task (painting for instance) so you can understand in practical terms what needs to be done. Then the right can be unleashed to generate possible solutions or strategies (how to paint it) but then again it’s up to the left side to execute the plan. The left side then analyzes and refines the ideas and puts them into action.

There are many times when the left brain is engaged in some sort of repetitive activity and is suspended or left on autopilot. A great example of this is driving. Have you ever driven down a well-known route, maybe to work or back home, and begin to daydream or plan and suddenly realize that you have arrived?

What happens is that since driving is mostly a left-brained activity and since your route is a well-practiced series of movements for you, your left brain gets put on the back burner and your right brain emerges as the dominant half. while the left side is on autopilot the right is allowed to churn away at full speed. Moments like these are probably some of the most creative moments you have.

Naturally Creative

There are some biological indicators of creativity. Research has shown that highly creative people who excel at creative innovation are capable of divergent thinking, which is controlled by the frontal lobe, and are able to manipulate or redeploy those neurotransmitters in their frontal lobe. Having a high level of specialized knowledge also helps draw inspiration during the creative process.

3 Steps to Become More Creative

  1. First, you need to challenge your brain and keep it sharp, regularly and it will make a habit of coming up with creative solutions. Exercise your brain with brain teasers, logic problems, etc. This will make sure that all the gears are well oiled in your brain, making it ready to tackle anything.
  2. Second, train your brain to think and act differently. Different is the key! Do things differently from how you would normally do them, with the opposite hand maybe, or in reverse order. Try dressing with one hand or using a new route to work. Routinely doing things in a new way creates and reinforces new neural pathways in your brain, literally creating new ways of thinking.
  3. Third, you’ll need a large pool of knowledge and experience to draw inspiration from. This means getting out there and trying new things, meeting new people, and experiencing more. This will broaden your realm of what is possible out there in this world. Learning how other people do things will give you insight into solving your own problem or tackling a task.

Theories of Creativity

Over the years, researchers have proposed various theories that explain where creativity comes from. The following are some of the most popular theories:

Cognitive Approach

The cognitive approach posits that creativity comes from the cognitive processes of the brain, including perception, attention, and memory. This theory suggests that creativity is an innate ability present in all humans.

Psychodynamic Approach

The psychodynamic approach explains creativity as a result of the subconscious mind’s interactions with the conscious mind. This theory suggests that creativity is a product of the individual’s personality and life experiences.

Neurobiological Approach

The neurobiological approach suggests that creativity is a result of the interaction between different brain regions. This theory posits that creativity involves the activation of the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and the limbic system.

Multiple Intelligences Approach

The multiple intelligences approach suggests that creativity is a product of different types of intelligence, including linguistic, musical, spatial, logical-mathematical, and interpersonal intelligence.

Brain Areas Involved in Creativity

Several brain areas are involved in the creative process, including:

Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe is responsible for planning, decision-making, and problem-solving. This area plays a crucial role in the creative process, especially during the preparation and verification stages.

Temporal Lobe

The temporal lobe is responsible for processing sensory information, including sound and visual images. This area plays a critical role in the generation of new and original ideas during the illumination stage.

Limbic System

The limbic system is responsible for processing emotions, motivation, and reward. This area plays a crucial role in the creative process by providing the necessary motivation and reward for the creator.

Enhancing Creativity

While creativity is an innate ability, there are ways to enhance creativity. The following are some tips for enhancing creativity:


Mindfulness involves being present and aware of one’s surroundings. Practicing mindfulness can help enhance creativity by allowing the brain to process information more effectively.


Exercise has been shown to enhance creativity by improving blood flow to the brain and promoting the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters.


Getting enough sleep is crucial for enhancing creativity. Studies have shown that sleep promotes creativity by allowing the brain to process and consolidate information gathered during the day.

While training to be more creative remember that your brain will respond to encouragement. When it sends signals, you should pay attention to them. If you reward the action, the action will increase with frequency and refinement. You can do this by acknowledging yourself when you are being creative. You can further encourage the onslaught of creative ideas by acting on those ideas. This gets the left brain involved as well in the creative process. With a little effort and persistence, you should notice ideas coming to you easier than before.

What side of the Brain is Creativity


In conclusion, creativity is an essential aspect of human intelligence that has enabled us to achieve some of the most remarkable feats in human history. Understanding where creativity comes from has been a topic of debate among scholars and researchers for decades, and several theories and models attempt to explain it.

The cognitive approach, psychodynamic approach, neurobiological approach, and multiple intelligences approach are some of the popular theories that attempt to explain the origin of creativity. Brain areas such as the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and limbic system play a crucial role in the creative process.

Finally, enhancing creativity involves practices such as mindfulness, exercise, and getting enough sleep. By incorporating these practices into our lives, we can enhance our creativity and realize our full potential.


  1. Can creativity be learned, or is it an innate ability?

While creativity is an innate ability, it can be learned and enhanced through various practices.

  1. Is there a specific part of the brain responsible for creativity?

No, creativity involves the interaction of different brain regions, including the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and limbic system.

  1. Can creativity be hindered by certain factors?

Yes, factors such as stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep can hinder creativity.

  1. Are there any famous examples of individuals who have enhanced their creativity?

Yes, famous examples include Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs.

  1. Is creativity essential in all aspects of life?

Yes, creativity is crucial in various aspects of life, including art, music, literature, science, and technology. It allows individuals to approach problems in unique ways and develop innovative solutions.

Read More: Where Does Creativity Come From in the Brain

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