Man drawing brain on mirror Man drawing brain on mirror Creative people make connections that others don't make. (Photo: Bangkokhappiness / Shutterstock)

Why some people are more creative than others

A new study found that certain types of brain connections have something to do with creativity.

Creativity is ethereal and elusive. You can’t define it in terms of numbers. Or can you?

Well, scientists think you can. A group of them from around the world, including researcher Yoed Kenett, who studied at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, designed an experiment to figure out why some people are more creative than others.

The scientists had 163 participants try and come up with as many uses for simple objects, like socks, as possible. This is a standard test for creativity for some reason. (I think I could design a more creative scientific experiment, like making people bake desserts with only a few weird ingredients. But I’m no scientist.)

chocolate cake donuts with peppermint glaze Creativity comes in all forms, including chocolate cake donuts with peppermint glaze. (Photo: Sarah F. Berkowitz)

“For the sock, one participant suggested using it to warm your feet – the common use for a sock – while another participant suggested using it as a water filtration system,” wrote Roger Beaty, a Harvard scientist who worked on the study, in an article about the experiment.

The researchers scanned participants' brains. They found that people who could come up with more uses for the objects tended to have more creative hobbies and more “creative” brain connections.

“In other words, we could estimate how creative a person's ideas would be based on the strength of their connections in this network,” Beaty explained. “Overall, people with stronger connections came up with better ideas.”

So the scientists think that the strength of these brain connections may determine creativity. Or maybe people who do creative things tend to develop these connections. Or maybe there's another, more creative explanation.


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