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_Genius, Creativity and Intelligence - where are they located?
© Dr Kathie Nunley, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to listen to Dr Rex Jung, from the University of New Mexico Health Science Center at the annual American Psychological Association meeting in Honolulu in early August. Dr Jung presented information on the actual brain networks that are involved in Genius. He, along with other researchers are using fMRI and other scanning techniques to examine the biology behind genius, creativity and intelligences.

Genius, as defined by Jung is the interface between Intelligence and Creativity.

Intelligence is the ability to use deductive reasoning to solve adaptive problems in our environment - in a fast, but accurate way. We measure intelligenceas a rule based process - measuring so called, "if / then" behavior. (IF this happens, THEN this is the logical response or next event). This type of mental process requires a balance of speed and accuracy and that balancing trade-off is the job of the cortex.

Traditionally we have looked to the frontal lobe as the dictator of intelligence, but brain scans are now showing that the parietal lobes are very important in this process as well. Perhaps even equally so. It turns out that the more white matter a person has in their parietal lobes, the faster their brain functions and the higher their intelligence.

Creativity, on the other hand, is one's ability to use abductive reasoning to find solutions to problems in novel and useful ways. We use our creative brain to solve problems when data is missing. In other words, when you just don't know any logical answer to a situaion, you use your creative brain to come up with a possible solution. Compare this to ancient times when all sorts of natural events were blamed on gods or mythical demons.

Genius then is the interface between Intelligence and Creativity. While creativity involves more of the parietal lobes, ntelligence makes use of the prefrontal cortex. So they work together to create genius. The divergent thinking may be the responsibility of the parietal lobes, ut we ultimately depend on the frontal lobes to pull all those divergent ideas back for refinement.

Jung, R. (2013, August 2). Brain Networks of Genius = Intelligence + Creativity. Presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Conference, Honolulu, HI.

If you are interested in reading the full report from this research team, you can find it here Brain imaging studies of intelligence and creativity: what is the picture for education?

About the Author:
Dr Kathie Nunley is an educational psychologist, researcher and author of several books on parenting and teaching, including A Student's Brain (Brains.org) and the best selling, "Differentiating the High School Classroom" (Corwin Press). She is the developer of the Layered Curriculum® method of instruction and has worked with parents and educators around the world to better structure schools to make brain-friendly environments. In addition, her work has been used by the Boeing Corporation, Family Circle Magazine, the Washington Post, and ABC television.
Email her: Kathie (at) brains.org


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