The IQ test is the most widely known measure of intelligence, but are the 'twice exceptional' and other gifted members of society slipping between the cracks?
Imagination Institute's Scott Barry Kaufman talks brain networks - daydreaming, how to have better ideas, and the left-brained vs. right-brained myth.
The great myth of the left brain versus right brain personality types has been popular for years. Even comedian Bo Burnham has turned this classic cliché into a successful song for his tour. As the story goes, the left brain is reserved for logic, analytics, and other brow-furrowing things, while the right brain is all about being creative. So a person who was very creative would say, oh, I’m right-brained, while someone who is more into scheduling would say, I’m left-brained.
Echoing the English psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, Scott Barry Kaufman explains why solitude is considered one of the greatest markers of psychological health.
Echoing the English psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, Scott Barry Kaufman explains that solitude is considered one of the greatest markers of psychological health because it means you are comfortable with you are when you are alone. The silence and easy concentration that accompanies solitude is a gateway to living a deeper, more meaningful life, says Kaufman. And contrary to popular misconception, enjoying being alone does not make one a misanthrope. On the contrary, being alone can help you find and solidify new ideas, which makes working in groups more rewarding: with new ideas you can contribute more to team efforts, and group discussion will yield more fruit when there is a greater diversity of ideas. Solitude provides an essential balance to time with others, says Kaufman, and the interplay of solitude and social time moves in cyclical patterns.
Creativity takes places equally in the conscious and subconscious mind, and while popular definitions often emphasize intuition over rationality, you won't have breakthroughs without both.
Thanks to advances in neuroscience, we are closer to a true definition of creativity — those seemingly inexplicable moments of clarity and invention — than ever before. Creativity is a quality of the mind, not an inherent characteristic or specific activity. Put differently, there are some very creative accountants just as there are some very uncreative painters — it all depends on the person doing the work. So what does it take to be creative? At the very least, it takes an openness to overcoming popular notions of creativity which are too restrictive, says Scott Barry Kaufman.
Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., is scientific director of the Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, where he investigates the measurement and development of intelligence, imagination, and creativity. He has written or edited six previous books, including Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined. He is also co-founder of The Creativity Post, host of The Psychology Podcast, and he writes the blog Beautiful Minds for Scientific American. Kaufman lives in Philadelphia and completed his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Yale University in 2009 and received his masters degree in experimental psychology from Cambridge University in 2005, where he was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.