The Neuroscience of Creativity, Perception, and Confirmation Bias | Beau Lotto | Big Think - Deepstash
The Neuroscience of Creativity, Perception, and Confirmation Bias | Beau Lotto | Big Think
The Neuroscience of Creativity, Perception, and Confirmation Bias | Beau Lotto | Big Think
The Neuroscience of Creativity, Perception, and Confirmation Bias | Beau Lotto | Big Think

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The Neuroscience of Creativity, Perception, and Confirmation Bias | Beau Lotto | Big Think

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We want certainty

Every behaviour we do is to increase certainty and reduce uncertainty. The stress resulting from uncertainty is immense in our society.

  • It increases brain cell death.
  • It decreases plasticity.
  • It makes you a more extreme version of yourself.



We'll do almost everything to avoid uncertainty. Yet, the irony is that we have to go there if we want to see differently. That is why creativity - seeing differently - always starts with a question. It begins with not knowing.

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Making assumptions

Every time you take a step, you make hundreds of assumptions. For example, the floor will not give way, your legs will hold you up, and the surface is not a hole.

But assumptions can also get in the way because what was once helpful may no longer apply. 

A profound question is how is it possible to see differently if everything you see is a reflex that is grounded in your assumptions? 

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  • Embody the fact that everything you do is grounded in your assumptions. If you don't accept that, you'll never create the possibility of seeing differently.
  • The next step is to identify your assumptions and question them.

Questioning assumptions is very difficult, especially if that assumption defines who you are. Your brain will do everything possible to avoid that uncertainty. That is why the brain will rather grab at things like confirmation bias, where we'll look for evidence to confirm what we assume to be true.

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The brain only does small steps in its ideas

Whenever you're in a moment, your brain will only shift you to the next most likely possibility. And the next most likely possibility is determined by the assumptions you make. This is called the space of possibility.

What is possible is based on your history. All a creative person does is make a small step to the next most likely possibility based on their assumptions.

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Taking the next small step

Something only looks creative from the outsider's perspective, not from the creative person's view. 

The creative person is just making a logical next step. But from the observers' point of view, the ideas are much further apart.

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