In the last couple of decades, the market for oversimplifying creativity has exploded. No executive seminar is complete without a presentation on “Managing Your Geeks” or “Suits versus Ponytails,” and the wisdom being thrown around about personality types isn’t much better than phrenology. So it should come as a relief that we’re leaving the era of “thinking outside the box.” We’ll still do it, of course; we just won’t need vague, hand-waving phrases to talk about it.
In the past decade alone, the study of creativity has moved from a soft to a hard science. Following breakthroughs in processing power, network theory and neural imaging, brain scans are replacing buzzwords. The brain sciences are starting to produce real insights about both the creation and experience of art. We’ve compiled some of our favorite TED Talks on these ideas in honor of Charles Limb’s recent talk on the neuroscience of improvised jazz, hence the slideshow.
TED, a set of conferences with presentations about novel and often humanitarian ideas, regularly features scientists fascinated with art and artists inspired by science. The lecturers come from a variety of fields, but they share the fundamental belief that rigorous research will help, not hinder, creative expression.