Joel Lopata and Nathaniel Barr get Creative in SanFran

Prof. Nathaniel Barr, mid-presentation

Profs. Nathaniel Barr and Joel Lopata (Psychology and Creativity) recently represented creativity at Sheridan College at the 5th Meeting of the Society for the Neuroscience of Creativity held at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Society’s mission is to “foster research on neural and cognitive bases of creativity and related constructs, and to provide a forum for communicating this research so that it has maximal impacts for education, health, innovation, and artistic performance.”

Nathaniel was the recipient of a Travel Award from the National Science Foundation and delivered a talk entitled, “Creativity and the Anthropocene: How the creative brain relates to the history and future of humanity.” He considered evidence connecting the creative brain to innovations of the past that have caused pressing contemporary challenges, and argued that understanding creativity holds special promise in securing a safe and prosperous future for our species.

Prof. Joel Lopata, blowing minds in San Francisco

Joel presented his research on the neuroscience of musical improvisation in a talk entitled, “EEG evidence that creative talent and flow are related, but only for trained creative thinkers.” His findings showed that frontal alpha synchronization was greater during high creative tasks (frontal alpha is an indicator of creative flow), was correlated with performance competency for musicians formally trained in improvisation, and that creative aptitude acted as a mediating variable.

While there, Nathaniel and Joel convened with global research leaders in the fields of creativity and neuroscience and returned with new research collaborations, new friends, and new ideas.