Category: Psychology

The psychology of creativity: Performers and Excitabilities

The psychology of creativity: Performers and Excitabilities

“I’m an only child and I’m just a real loner kind of person, and yeah, kinda dark. But I’m happy. Not sad. I’m just shy and nervous… I was a loner in high school. I keep to myself, but I love life.” Actor Clea DuVall  [imdb.com] One of the qualities of many actors, musicians and […]

Albert Einstein on the numinous and the creative individual

Albert Einstein on the numinous and the creative individual

Albert Einstein wrote in an essay about the mystical or numinous aspects of reality: The most beautiful thing we can experience is the Mysterious — the knowledge of the existence of something unfathomable to us, the manifestation of the most profound reason coupled with the most brilliant beauty. I cannot imagine a God who rewards […]

Creative People and Mental Health: Self-Injury

Creative People and Mental Health: Self-Injury

“It’s like having a drink. But it’s quicker. You know how your brain shuts down from pain? The pain would be so bad, it would force my body to slow down, and I wouldn’t be as anxious. It made me calm.” That is a quote by Christina Ricci from a 1998 Rolling Stone interview. Studies […]

Emotional intelligence and/or high IQ

Emotional intelligence and/or high IQ

“Academic intelligence has little to do with emotional life… people with high IQs can be stunningly poor pilots of their private lives.” Daniel Goleman In her article Emotional Intelligence of the Gifted, Joanna Fletcher notes that Goleman gives examples of high IQ people “who are not achieving the heights they were destined for.” But she […]

Perfectionism and Brene Brown on The Gifts of Imperfection

Perfectionism and Brene Brown on The Gifts of Imperfection

Perfectionism can be an unhealthy way to try to satisfy distorted ego needs or defuse shame or low self-esteem, for example – but it is a simple name for what can be a complex set of drives and attitudes that can also fuel our pursuit of excellence and motivate social change. Hilary Swank: “The great […]

Louise Bourgeois: A Balance Between Extremes

Louise Bourgeois: A Balance Between Extremes

Her creative work can be “psychologically disturbing, sexually loaded and wickedly funny” according to an interview article, in which artist Louise Bourgeois talked about her emotional and social influences: “My work is a form of psychoanalysis. It is a way of coming to grips with my anxiety and fears. It is an attempt to be […]

Natalie Goldberg on accessing our energy in writing

Natalie Goldberg on accessing our energy in writing

“All the other rules of writing practice support that primary rule of keeping your hand moving. The goal is to allow the written word to connect with your original mind, to write down the first thought you flash on, before the second and third thoughts come in. “Because that’s where the energy is. That’s where […]

The Power of Subconscious Thinking

The Power of Subconscious Thinking

Director Mike Nichols recognizes the value for creative expression of our unconscious depths. “In making movies,” he said, “time is so short — because it is so expensive — that we tend to neglect the place from which the best ideas come, namely that part of ourselves that dreams. “The unconscious is our best collaborator. […]

Unconscious decisions and intuition: Tim Burton and neuroscience

Unconscious decisions and intuition: Tim Burton and neuroscience

Much of what we do, including our creative motivation and work, comes from or is strongly influenced by subconscious aspects of our mind – our intuition and shadow self, among other concepts. In an interview about his films including the “Alice in Wonderland” (with Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp), director Tim Burton commented about his […]

Oliver Sacks on music and the brain

Oliver Sacks on music and the brain

We engage in creative expression out of many circumstances: a passionate calling to make life more meaningful, or in response to emotional or mental turmoil, or simply a need to earn a living, to survive. In his book “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,” neurologist Oliver Sacks describes many of the personal and mental […]

Enhancing Our Creative Flow And Achievement

Enhancing Our Creative Flow And Achievement

Ideas and beliefs can fuel our creative expression – or stifle it. Fiona Apple once talked about a notion that can affect any kind of artist: self-imposed schedules or deadlines. Of course there are often “real” deadlines: a date to submit a book proposal, or to have a collection of artwork ready for a gallery […]

The Artist’s Unconscious

The Artist’s Unconscious

By Cheryl Arutt, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, specializing in creative artist issues, trauma recovery, and fertility. I am continually amazed at the work of the unconscious in the minds of creative artists. The capacity to hold many details in the conscious, wakeful mind may seem limited; the unconscious is capable of holding […]

Developing creativity by nurturing divergent thinking

Developing creativity by nurturing divergent thinking

Divergent thinking is one of the defining qualities of creative and high ability people. While it may be a prominent trait of children and many gifted adults, encouraging out of the ordinary ideas can be suppressed as we “grow up” and learn to fit in. But it can also be actively nurtured. Some examples of […]

Be more creative - Part 2

Be more creative – Part 2

Articles and other resources for helping you gain new perspectives and be more creative: ideas for enhancing creativity and innovation. ~~~~~~~ The Secret to Creativity: Mike Dillon at TEDxEastsidePrep “Creativity is not some sort of rare magic, it’s actually an infinite resource – and it’s kinda like a virus.” “Mike Dillon’s background spans over three […]

We do not fear being called meticulous

We do not fear being called meticulous

“We do not fear being called meticulous, inclining as we do to the view that only the exhaustive can be truly interesting.” — Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain Photo: FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks (1990-1991 TV series), recording a memo about his investigations. Concept and photo from Slaughterhouse 90210 > Related […]

Letting Go of Perfectionism

Letting Go of Perfectionism

“We are constantly bombarded with perfection.” This is a poster for the movie “Closer” (2004) with Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen, directed by Mike Nichols. Flawless faces – probably airbrushed. Owen has been a powerful image and personality to me in all his films I’ve seen – a mensch, someone of strong […]

Your Creative Mind with Learning Differences

Your Creative Mind with Learning Differences

“There were a lot of benefits to being dyslexic for me…I think I came into an appreciation of all those qualities of language…” Novelist Richard Ford The traditional framing of ADHD, dyslexia and some other conditions as “learning disorders” seems to be increasingly challenged by the views of many researchers and artists that these can […]

Shelley Carson on developing creativity

Shelley Carson on developing creativity

Shelley Carson, Ph.D. of Harvard University teaches and conducts research on creativity, psychopathology, and resilience. Topics in our audio podcast interview related to the creative mind and developing creativity include some of Dr. Carson’s seven brain activation patterns she discusses in her book Your Creative Brain. Listen to the podcast: Shelley Carson on enhancing our […]

Allan Snyder on savant syndrome and creativity

Allan Snyder on savant syndrome and creativity

Darold Treffert, MD explains, “Savant Syndrome is a rare, but spectacular, condition in which persons with various developmental disabilities, including Autistic Disorder, have astonishing islands of ability or brilliance that stand in stark, markedly incongruous contrast to the over-all handicap.” From his article The Savant Syndrome: Islands of Genius. Daniel Tammet , as one example, […]

Creative Thinking Without Thinking

Creative Thinking Without Thinking

Much of the Talent Development Resources series of sites is about creative thinking: exploring perspectives and ideas that can help us make more sense of how we operate, and be more fully conscious and creative. In his stimulating book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell writes about “rapid cognition, about the kind […]

Creative People and Madness [Slideshare presentation]

Creative People and Madness [Slideshare presentation]

A number of mental health challenges and myths relate to creative people. For example, director Tim Burton may be acclaimed for his films, including “Alice in Wonderland,” but has also been called ‘crazy’ (at least in part for his appearance) or at least ‘eccentric’ – perhaps a polite cover label for ‘mad.’ … The mythology […]

Alanis Morissette on using pot for creativity

Alanis Morissette on using pot for creativity

Musician Alanis Morissette has sold over 60 million albums worldwide, including Jagged Little Pill. She is also an actor, with credits for the series Weeds, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Sex and the City, and The Vagina Monologues on Broadway. And she played God in the film Dogma. In a High Times interview, she talks about […]

Helen Mirren on miserable self obsession

Helen Mirren on miserable self obsession

Much of this site is about how self-awareness impacts our creativity and personal development. But self-exploration can also get obsessive, or we may not find the right people to help, as Helen Mirren notes in her memoir. Here is an excerpt: Part of my job as an actress is to do interviews, but while I […]

Disarming the brain's fear response

Disarming the brain’s fear response

Fear and anxiety can keep us from pursuing dreams, exploring creative projects and in other ways realizing our talents. Fear can take various forms such as: social anxiety, phobias, performance anxiety or stage fright. Robert Maurer, PhD has studied social and neuropsychological aspects of achievement and creative expression for many years. He notes that even […]

Dancing With Our Unconscious

Dancing With Our Unconscious

Being creative and realizing our talents involves self-awareness and respecting who we really are, including our unconscious depths. In an interview about her film “Flightplan,” Jodie Foster commented, “When you’re a dramatic actor you look for films that hit you in the gut, in this unconscious place that really moves you, and then you can’t […]

 Directing our feelings and thinking to be more creative

Directing our feelings and thinking to be more creative

Do you remember how much you felt and thought as a child? Probably a lot, especially if you were gifted and creative. As an adult, we may have learned to cover up or set aside much of our inner life, in order to get along with others and do our jobs. But if we want […]

The science of feeling good

The science of feeling good

While psychology has mostly concentrated on mental health disorders and how to deal with them, the field of positive psychology is exploring what helps make us happy and fulfilled – feelings that support our personal development and achievement. The photo is psychologist Jeanne Nakamura appreciating the joking scowling of her colleague Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Claremont […]

Our Shadow and Developing Creativity

Our Shadow and Developing Creativity

The movie Black Swan portrays some aspects of how the darker aspects of the shadow self can impact our mental health and creative expression. The photo shows ballerina Nina [Natalie Portman] and her mother [Barbara Hershey]. In his Psych Central article “Black Swan” and the Recovery of the Shadow Self, Joseph Burgo PhD points out […]

Collaborating With Our Shadow Side

Collaborating With Our Shadow Side

Many artists know that our inner depths provide the material for creative expression. But much of what we have in our psyches may be shut away from awareness, by suppression and repression, and just not paying attention. This wealth of emotional and imaginational material psychologists, beginning perhaps with Carl Jung, identify as the Shadow Self. There is […]

Steve Wozniak on being shy

Steve Wozniak on being shy

Many accomplished people have been shy during periods of their life. Two examples: Craig McCaw – “Telecommunications billionaire and wireless pioneer, Craig McCaw recognized that shortcomings (shyness and dyslexia) could also be assets. “Maybe my whole attitude toward life comes from being forced, as a relatively shy person, to confront people and ask them to […]

Claire Danes and Temple Grandin on Autism and thinking differently

Claire Danes and Temple Grandin on Autism and thinking differently

“My visual thinking gives me the ability to ‘test-run’ in my head a piece of equipment I’ve designed, just like a virtual reality computer system.” – Temple Grandin, PhD She was portrayed by Claire Danes in an HBO movie “Temple Grandin.” From post: HBO’s Autistic Hero, by Jace Lacob : “Playing somebody who is wired […]

Harvard research: We can think ourselves younger and healthier

Harvard research: We can think ourselves younger and healthier

Harvard Professor Ellen Langer and colleague Alia Crum reported that they took 84 hotel workers and told one group that “the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle.” Langer and Crum told the control group nothing. Four weeks later, the control group hadn’t […]

Filling your time with meaning

Filling your time with meaning

“Drawing is sort of therapy for me. I draw in between film shooting sessions, I draw while flying on airplanes, and sometimes when I have days off.” Actor Jane Seymour [from the page Painting 2] Actively making a life of meaning beyond work can help keep us emotionally healthy and creatively dynamic. Gabriel Byrne notes […]