Scientific Ways to Enhance Creativity


We are fascinated by human creativity and by the critical role of the nonconscious mind in initiating our most profound creative advances. We are presently embarking on a series of exciting experiments to gain access to the nonconscious mind and to enhance human creativity.

Nonconscious problem solving is crucial to the creative process. In this project we aim to tap into and characterise nonconscious brain processes and amplify them, so that we may also enhance creativity.

This project requires a multidisciplinary approach which integrates psychophysiology, brain scanning, and behavioural and psychological analysis and we have many collaborators working with us to achieve our goals.


How do we identify nonconscious processes?


Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is used to inhibit or activate different regions of a person's brain. While the stimulus is applied, we test the person's skills and behaviour in different areas, which require cognitive processing. This reveals to us what cognitive effects the stimulation is having on the person. Preliminary studies indicate that, using this technique, savant skills can amazingly be switched on in normal people!

We believe that an improvement in savant-like skills indicates that the person has heightened access to their nonconscious brain mechanisms and we can identify these by studying brain maps taken before and after the stimulation using EEG.


Where is this research going?


Essentially, we aim to develop a system whereby a person can access and enhance processes in their own nonconscious mind. We envisage a system one day where a person can engage in direct communication with a computer or machine that can literally read their mind. We believe this will be the next crucial and critical step in the IT revolution and will lead to further amazing technological advances.


Enhancing Creativity


Clearly nonconscious problem solving is crucial to the creative process.

So, what if we could somehow access the nonconscious mind without the expense of losing our mindsets?

In our present research projects we are exploring and attempting to characterise this phenomenon quantitatively by carefully controlled experiments in several domains. We have adopted a multidisciplinary approach which integrates psychophysics, brain scanning and behavioural techniques on both normal as well as on brain damaged individuals.


In the 1999 New Scientist cover story about our research, Prof Snyder first voiced his controversial suggestion that by using magnetic stimulation to temporarily switch off parts of the conscious mind we would be able to gain access to the nonconscious mind, with the result that for that short time we would see the world in a whole new way - a savant-like way.

A critique of this paper appeared in Nature News and Views, and here it was suggested that EEG assisted biological feedback could also be used as a means of circumventing conscious brain processing to gain direct access to the nonconscious mind.

We are now embarking on a number of exciting research projects in our attempt to access the nonconscious mind and enhance creativity.