Talk: Baroness Susan Greenfeld at the HE Leadership Summit, 11/2/10
Closing Keynote: Maximising creativity in the 21st century individual Baroness Susan...
Cloud created by:
5 February 2010
Closing Keynote: Maximising creativity in the 21st century individual
Baroness Susan Greenfield CBE
Chaired by Ewart Wooldrige
- Space to
- live blog
- comment on the talk
- add relervant links or references
Susan Greenfield started with an invitation for anecdotes to support her in the debate in the House of Lords on the education cuts. Ideas should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her talk took a position of looking at Neuroscience - in order to explain creativity and risk taking. The fastest Neuroscince course in the country explained:
From birth there is a great repertoire for humans. (Susan used the goldfish as the reference point as having no real future - which I am not so sure about!) The growth in the brain from 3months - 2 years is in all the connections: these will be unique and driven by individual experiences even for clones.
Experiment that took people who could not play the piano - the control stared at a piano, second learned to play five finger exercises on the piano, the third imagined playing the piano. The brain scans for the groups should the mental and physical activities produced very similar impact. Thinking is exercise for the brain cells and
The brain posseses "plasticity" that allows it to be shaped by experience. Demonstrated by the greater branching in rat's brain cells who have enriched experience by being placed inmore interesting environments.
A stimulating active environment trains the brain cells leading to more branches, more connections, more personalised signifciance.
The sensations that effect feelings include: attending raves, sport, excitement, drugs, and eating cake. Each of these in extreme can "blow your mind".
The biological basis of the mind is the "personalisation of the brain" itself driven by experiences.
So how are experinces for children changing in C21st: 2000hrs in front of screen v 1200+ with family v 900 at school. This should be looked at and understood. This was referred back to risk taking quoting a study of obesity in children and the link with higher risk taking - explained as obese people have reduced frontal lobe which controls risk taking.
Schizophrenics also have underactive front brain and tend to take such things as proverbs very lieterally.
So obesity, gamling and schizophrenia are linked by the reduction in front brain activity: reflected in excessive dopamine which places the brain in the situation of the "thrill of the moment" rather than cognitive judgement. Set out as:
Mindless world: strong feelings, sensory, here-and-now, external environment, little meaning, ..
Mindful: thinking, cognitive, past/present, internal percepriotns, personal meaning, ...
The big question is does the "world of the screen" place children in the same mindless mode of reduced stimulation? And if so does this correspond to states that are actually associated with creativity along with the willingness to take risks?
E.g. Childhood, excited, drug, schizophrenia all demonstrate creativity through the lack of control and risk taking. Note - this does not mean all these people are creative, or all creative people need to fit this pattern.
True creativity that is recognised has to also mean something. The need to have insight and connectivity.
- must have identity
- have a story to tell
- a past and a future
- and therefore MEANING
Project entropia was played as an example of the stimulation that children have today - can it promote the risk taking element that leads into creativity?
If we are in the business of generating environments for growing brains we should try to understand these things.
For more (and doubtless a much better explanation than I have managed to blog) there is a new book by Susan Geenfield: id - the quest for meaning in the 21st century.
16:07 on 11 February 2010