Do we need neuroscience of creativity?
Zbigniew R. Struzik,
The University of Tokyo, Japan
Creativity is considered by many to be the very essence of what makes us human. It has provided Homo sapiens with technological advances which have determined the emergence of human civilisations. Civilisations emerge and collapse, but the underlying driving mechanism, by analogy with mutations in genetically evolving adaptation, is that of human creativity. In particular, it has made possible the development of human technology, the advancement of theory and experimentation aimed at understanding the human thought process.
Yet, perhaps ironically, the very nature of creativity remains to a large degree intractable and, to date, nearly inaccessible to the tools of exact sciences, including the field of neuroscience. I believe that it is legitimate to state that Homo sapiens does not yet understand Homo creativus. In effect, we have not been sufficiently creative to understand our own creativity.
This topic welcomes contributions to defining creativity in a tractable way and yet respecting the established socio-psychological and philosophical view of creativity. I believe that the modern tools of information science, in part those developed for use in neuroscience research, may provide a possibility to cross the seemingly impenetrable barrier of the apparent intractability of the concept of creativity.
Currently, the state of the art of the neuroscience of creativity reveals a highly fragmented field, perplexed by contradictory findings. In addition to difficulties in defining creativity as such, in the literature on neuroscience to date, there is a confusion of aesthetic and creative acts, and essentially no distinction between scientific and artistic creativity.
The role of constraints on creative abilities is of paramount importance, e.g. if and how these abilities are altered in mental dysfunctions is, of course, of potential interest for this topic.
Contributions are also welcome, which will address the specific role of consciousness of both the author of the creative act and the consumer of the creative product. Indeed, creativity would have little meaning if its perception were restricted to only the artist or scientist concerned.
The nature of creativity remains a hard problem. The challenge set by this Research Topic is to answer the question of whether elucidating the neural mechanisms involved will shed light on the mystery of Homo creativus.