The Beautiful Brain explores the latest findings from the ever-growing field of neuroscience through monthly long-form essays, reviews, galleries, short-form blog posts and more, with particular attention to the dialogue between the arts and sciences.
Powerhouse intellect Arne Dietrich, of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, has published a new book, How Creativity Works in the Brain (Palgrave Macmillan) that will be sure to shake up your ideas about the mind and brain. A dedicated mechanist, Dietrich devotes himself to dispelling bogus ideas in psychology, such as right brains, divergent thinking, defocused attention, low arousal, alpha enhancement, dream states, or unconscious processes. “Current experimental work on the neural basis of creativity satisfies the criteria of phrenology,” Dietrich damningly writes, with characteristic wit and flare. He argues that, like political orientation or religious conviction, creativity does not exist as a cohesive entity on the neural level. Culture, he says, evolves from the coupling of variation and selection. Unfortunately, according to Dietrich, no one in neuroscience has investigated this idea, and so the field has failed to progress for decades. Popular scientists had better take note; Arne Dietrich may be the smartest guy in the room, and he means business.