by Nick Darlington, LifeHack: http://www.lifehack.org/422278/what-does-weirdness-have-to-do-with-creativity-scientists-explain
“A highly original person may seem unusual or strange to others” - Neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreason.
Creativity is defined
as “the ability to make new things” or think of “new ideas.” The
ability to do both these requires original thinking and drawing from
past experiences, abilities, and skills.
Creativity is not
reserved for the artists; the painters, the authors, and the writers.
Everyone is creative in their own way. As Tyler Tervooren explains “Creativity
is all around us but, for so many, it remains invisible - hidden in plain
sight - because we’ve conditioned ourselves to look for it in only a few
places. There are so many places you can draw new ideas from to improve
your work if you look just a little harder". But why are some people more creative than others? The concept of latent inhibition is used to explain this.
Latent Inhibition and why we are creative
inhibition is a term used to explain how our observation of a familiar
stimulus (e.g. something we have seen or heard before) takes longer to
acquire meaning than a new stimulus” - Low Latent Inhibition.
For example, consider how
we observe a doorknob. We know it’s purpose. It’s there to help us open
a door. We don’t give it much notice. This makes sense as we see
it every day. We open a lot of doors every day. Consequently, our
brains apply the same rules to all doorknobs (and all new stimuli). If
we were to analyze each and every doorknob, looking at finer details and
questioning why it was chosen, our brains would be overloaded. Our
brains would not be able to cope.
We then, filter out information
to experience the world in a manageable way. It keeps us sane. The
majority of us have a strong filter to keep out irrelevant information.
The more creative individuals, however, have a lower filter or low
latent inhibition. In a 2003 study, Shelley Carson found that eminent creative achievers were seven times more likely to have low rather than high latent intelligence scores.
gives this example for low latent inhibitions in action: “A person with
low latent inhibitions would not only see a yellow desk lamp, they may
also think of bananas, Spongebob Squarepants, or Spongebob Squarepants
eating a banana, or possibly concoct a whole dissertation in their head
about whether or not Spongebob likes to eat bananas, or how he could get
them down in the ocean”.
Many creatives fail to ignore
information that generally would be irrelevant. This is known as
cognitive disinhibition. Their creative brain is geared toward
information absorbing a lot if information. And whilst this can be
stifling, it can also be the perfect recipe for creative genius.
How creativity and weirdness are linked
is such a relative word. My weird will not be your weird. The same
principles apply to beauty, love and other abstract constructs, like
creativity. Looking at the definition
of weird, words such as “unusual” or “strange” are mentioned.
Elaborating, someone who thinks unconventionally sees the world
differently and does not fit within the box of what is considered
“normal” is weird. Such individuals are unique. They are original. They
disturb the status quo.
The common theme that binds weirdness and
creativity is originality. Both fall outside the normal spectrum of what
is considered normal. If there is a link between low latent inhibition
and creativity, and there is also a link between creativity and
weirdness through originality, then it follows that low latent
inhibition is linked to weirdness through creativity. Weird people are creative through low latent inhibition. What do you think?
Featured photo credit: Terry Presley via flickr.com