Jonah Lehrer on how creativity works

'Imagine' by Jonah Lehrer
Book cover courtesy of publisher

Jonah Lehrer, Wired contributing editor and author, joined The Daily Circuit to talk about his latest book "Imagine: How Creativity Works." The book was released this month.

"Imagine" looks at scientific invention and artistic breakthroughs through psychological and neurological research, according to a Scientific American review.

"What emerges from his chronicles is a much clearer picture of what happens in the brain when we are exercising - either successfully or unsuccessfully - our creative juices," Samuel McNerney writes. "The question is: what are the secrets to creativity?"

The brain is an endless knot of connections, Lehrer told NPR.

"I think one of the mistakes we've made in talking about creativity is we've assumed it's a single verb -- that when people are creative they're just doing one particular kind of thinking," he said. "But looking at creativity from the perspective of the brain, we can see that creativity is actually a bundle of distinct mental processes."

And what can you do when you hit a wall and you stop making creative progress? Step away from the project and find a way to relax, he told NPR. A long shower could do wonders for your creativity.

"What scientists have found is that when people are relaxed, they're much more likely to have those big 'A ha!' moments, those moments of insight where these seemingly impossible problems get solved," he said.

VIDEO: Flash Rosenberg on How Creativity Works

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