Ever feel out of step with the main crowd? It could be your ingenuity.
Scientists have found that thinking creatively doesn’t simply mean you walk around with funny colored hair and your own sense of style. It can actually indicate that your brain is operating differently from the masses.
“People who are more creative can simultaneously engage brain networks that don’t typically work together,” said Roger Beaty, a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Psychology at Harvard University and the first author of the study.
Beaty and his colleagues reanalyzed brain data from previous studies. They studied brain scans of people who were asked to come up with inventive uses for everyday objects.
Related: Is the Paleo Diet for You?
It was found that, by simply measuring the strength of connections in participants’ brain networks, scientists could estimate how original their ideas would be. A specific pattern of connectivity was correlated with the most creative responses.
“It’s the synchrony between these systems that seems to be important for creativity,” Beaty said. “People who think more flexibly and come up with more creative ideas are better able to engage these networks that don’t typically work together and bring these systems online.”
So, do you need to be born creative to think this way? It isn’t clear yet. Being creative, researchers say, may be possible to foster with some kind of training.
“Creativity is complex, and we’re only scratching the surface here, so there’s much more work that’s needed,” Beaty said.
Thinking of taking up a new hobby this year, to satisfy of your out-of-the-box approach? Click here for reasons to do it.