“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”
                                                                                                    Albert Einstein
” Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”
-Pablo Picasso
A creative person does things that have never been done before.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams
“We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams.” ~Albert Einstein
“As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance” ~Calvin and Hobbes
“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.” ~Pablo Picasso
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams

Week Five: TRANSFORM Brainset
Sarah Kay – a talk on spoken word “If I Should have a daughter” http://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter.html
Robert Gupta – Music as medication, music as sanity “http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_gupta.html?quote=677
Photo responses loved! Drawings loved!
If you know of any other cool tedtalks let me know!
Anything on creativity, hope, transformation, emotions, anger, sadness, fear, grief, happiness, etc.
Practice EQ once a day! Write what fractions or amount or whatever of emotions you are. Remember, you’re probably more than one. Then go ahead and express it in some way – draw, make food, paint, do the body diagram we did, dance, make up a joke, draw a cartoon strip, write a poem, story, movie script
anything goes 🙂
and since you guys wanted the website to the smiley faces:
Week Four: ENVISION Brainset
Ted Talks:
Again, same deal. Take a photo or scan a note on how you felt about it! (you don’t have to do all three, pick the one you fine most interesting. Of course, I’m not stopping you from watching them all)
Here is VS Ramachandran’s talk on mirror neurons (related to the ENVISION brainset) and the arm thing: http://www.ted.com/talks/vs_ramachandran_the_neurons_that_shaped_civilization.html
Here is James Geary’s talk on Metaphors (Author of “I am an Other”) and corresponds to my talks on the CONNECT brainset:http://www.ted.com/talks/james_geary_metaphorically_speaking.html
More general TedTalk (this one is LONG – about 30 minutes): http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_brown_on_creativity_and_play.html
Anything ranging from imagination to envisioning to the senses to just good ol’ creativity.
Extra challenge?
Pretend to be someone else for an hour. It’s like a “What would ______ do?” game, but longer 🙂 Document how it felt to be on the other person’s side.
OR: Pick five objects up on your way to some activity. Then envision a world based on those five objects and try to make your 6 senses come to life.
Week Three: CONNECT Brainset
Class Materials:
First off…here is the TedTalk video of the week. It is by VS Ramachandran, a very prominent neuroscience researcher who has worked with synaesthesia, paralysis, and face-delusions. Here is the link to the video:
If you’re too busy to watch the entire video, at least watch the second half, as that is where the important information on synaesthesia and creativity is.
Whoever responds first about which part of the brain is responsible for the metaphorical thinking and face-recognition will get a little prize next class!
So watch the video and take a photo of you responding about how you feel and also write up any thoughts/comments on the video.
Second, read this article on embodied metaphors and come up with your own embodied metaphor! You can even take a photo of yourself acting out the embodied metaphor and describe how it works. An example is the coffee cup/cold water experiment I had in class.
Third, do the synaesthesia thinking with one of your meals! Pick something you’re eating and draw out what you experience (or you can talk about colors/sounds/etc. instead)
And finally, I love quotes (you all know that already!). More topic ideas from last week: connections, synaesthesia, metaphors, attention, happiness

Week Two: ABSORB Brainset

Class Materials:

Pre-class survey

Handout – Wk 2

I Create Powerpoint: Lesson 2


Big-Five (try all three to compare!):




Information About Big-Five


1. Watch this video called “Stroke of Insight”  by Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who has a stroke and gets to experience first-hand the result of a paralysis in her left temporal lobe. Again, like last week, take a photo and write on a piece of paper your thoughts/favorite quote and show a thumbs up or down for how you feel!
2. I still love creativity quotes. Send at least one through! Other topics you can find quotes on: judgment, curiosity, absorption, open mind, awareness
3. Meditate 2-10 minutes daily (obviously you can’t show me this) but reflect in your creativity journal how it feels! Types of meditation we tried (longer explanations on the ICREATE website): walking meditation, body scan, mindfulness meditation, breathing meditation, mindful eating
4. Perform some absorb tasks to put your brain waves into the alpha/theta states
1. high aerobic activity: start by setting an intention – think of a creative problem/activity, then do something intensely athletic for at least 30 minutes. Allow yourself a 2 hour recovery and during that time tackle that creative project you have (the increase in dopamine should be a nice positive boost!)
2. REM Sleep: so the brain waves you achieve between the waking and sleeping states allow you to make more associative connections. Feel free to set your alarm 20 minutes earlier to really nail that REM sleep stage (the dreaming stage) and/or the moment you wake up from sleeping, write down literally anything that comes to mind the moment you wake up for five minutes (steam of thought).
3. Talking to your TOP! Remember the trigger activity I suggested? Do this at least once a day for a few minutes. Start with a few deep breaths, then settle down and have a chat with your temporal, occipital, and parietal lobes, asking them to lend you a hand and that you’re open to any ideas they might have for your creative dilemma. Nothing may surface then, but you’re establishing a state of mind that will be more open to ideas.
5. Do a google image search on creative images and send them through 🙂

Week One: Introduction to Creativity & The Brain

Class Materials

Pre-Class Survey

Handout – Wk1

I Create Powerpoint: Lesson One (includes brief history of creativity and a timeline)

Homework Links

SEND YOUR RESPONSE TO ME BY EMAIL: krobinson@college.harvard.edu

1. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talk – addresses the question of whether the mental illnesses of our creative minds should be addressed by reattributing creativity to an outside muse/daemon/spirit. 

Click here to see student responses

2. Go on search engine and search up “Creativity + _____”. The _____ can be anything you’re passionate about. An example for me would be “creativity and yoga”. I got hit with this awesome article called “Neuroscience, Hatha Yoga, and Creativity: A New Paradigm for Teaching”.  Shabam. A sweet dose of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, and I would send this quote as my summary:

Imagery and metaphors trigger a complex process in the brain as memory, emotion, cognition, and the imagination collectively recreate what we read from our own experience. When readers remark that they were so involved with a book that it felt as if the events described were happening to them, they may be surprised to know that, according to their minds, it actually did happen to them. They must work to translate what they read into some semblance of it with their own mind. Artful expressions and imagery not only prime and expand the imagination, they also demand that we become artists ourselves as we appreciate and process what artists present to us.

Trial Number 2? “creativity + swimming” gives me creative swimming pools. I would probably talk about my favorite ones in an email.

3. Email me if you want to take a couple psychology surveys/questionnaires on personality and/or creativity. I will score them for you.

4. Find a creativity quote. I’m a sucker for yummy quotes.


On the Brain

Cool Brain Facts: http://smartnow.com/page/10570

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