High Sensitivity, Creativity and Brain Differences

By Douglas Eby • 1 min read

Steam Train Photo Puzzle

Highly sensitive people are considered by many to be exceptionally creative as a group.

Psychologist Elaine Aron even declares “I know ALL HSPs are creative, by definition.”

The personality trait (technically referred to as sensory processing sensitivity, SPS) may show up in curious ways for some of us who are highly sensitive.

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Margaret Keane: Overcoming Exploitation

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

Margaret Keane

In the 1960s, paintings of “sad-eyed children,” massively reproduced in posters and cards, became possibly the best-selling art in the world for a time, thanks to the tireless marketing by Walter Keane of “his” work. The “big eyes” images were owned by celebrities and hung in many permanent collections.

But Walter Keane was a fraud and plagiarist: the art was actually created by his wife Margaret Keane.

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Fairy Tales and Bigger Truths

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

Lilla Crawford as Little Red Riding Hood

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” ― Albert Einstein

Stories, perhaps especially the more elaborate and potent examples of fantasy and fairytale, can do more than entertain: they can reveal how others, and ourselves, manage being human. And how we can do better at it.

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Alan Turing: Exceptional Intellect and Asperger’s

By Douglas Eby • 1 min read

Alan Turing

British mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing led a group of other brilliant codebreakers, including Joan Clarke, at Bletchley Park outside London during WWII to crack the German’s Enigma code.

One of his biographers, professor S. Barry Cooper, writes that Turing “was a strange man, who never felt at ease in any place…He randomly adopted some conventions of his class, but rejected with no regret and hesitation most of their habits and ideas.

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Creative People With Schizophrenia – Part 2

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

Mercury by David Marsh

Elyn Saks (photo at right in Part 1) is a law professor at USC; an adjunct professor of psychiatry at UC San Diego, where she does research about society’s rejection of the mentally ill and how high-functioning schizophrenics cope; and is a recipient of a “genius” grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

An article notes “She kept her schizophrenia hidden while excelling in her academic studies, receiving a philosophy degree from Oxford University and a law degree from Yale University.”

She wrote of her experiences in her memoir, “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness.”

See more in post: Elyn Saks, Schizophrenia and Creativity.

She has commented, “Ironically, the more I accepted I had a mental illness, the less the illness defined me — at which point the riptide set me free.”

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Creative People With Schizophrenia

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

Creative People With Schizophrenia

As devastating as schizophrenia can be, a number of people with the mental illness lead active and creative lives. Some research even indicates the type of thinking that characterizes the disorder can facilitate creativity.

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Where Do You Get Creative Inspiration? – Part 2

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

[Continued from Part 1.]

brain-Human Connectome Project“Before the dance of inspiration and perspiration can begin, there must be some raw material, some spark of inciting energy.”

From the book The Soul of Creativity: Insights into the Creative Process by Tona Pearce Myers.

Actor Rose McGowan relates an experience that may be common for many creative people: being inspired by seeing someone else’s artwork or other form of creative expression:

“After saving my allowance for ten years, I flew to Paris when I was 15 years old. When I visited the Musée Rodin, I was profoundly inspired by the story and the pain of Camille Claudel. Her diminutive sculptures — much smaller in stature to Rodin’s — led me to become an artist.”

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Where Do We Get Creative Inspiration?

By Douglas Eby • 1 min read

Kiss of the Muse by Paul CezanneWhere does creative inspiration come from? It may show up mysteriously, “out of the blue” – and for a good part of human history, it has been explained as a gift from a supernatural being, a Muse.

At least some people still embrace that idea, or at least like to use the concept.

Novelist and author Steven Pressfield writes in his book “The War of Art” about pulling in creative power when we are doing creative work:

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Fear and Courage and Creating

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

Matisse quote

“The artist begins with a vision — a creative operation requiring effort. Creativity takes courage.” Henri Matisse

What fears and anxieties are holding you back from expressing yourself more creatively? Matisse and many other artists and psychologists note creative work requires courage or dealing with our fears.

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Pushed to Excel – Part 2

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read
Lang Lang[Continued from Part 1]

What does creative excellence take?

In his article How to Win American Idol, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman refers to research by Rena Subotnik and Linda Jarvin, who “interviewed over 80 top students at different stages of their musical careers and identified the traits important to succeed at every stage on the way to the top.

“The three abilities that were absolutely necessary as a baseline were intrinsic motivation, charisma, and musicality.”

But for musicians at an “elite” level of talent, “technical proficiency mattered less and the following factors rose to prominence: self-promotion skills, having a good agent, capitalizing on strengths, overcoming self-doubt, exuding self-confidence, good social skills, persevering through criticisms and defeats, and taking risks.”

How does a brutal teaching style impact those factors?

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