How Aging Brains Increase in Creativity

As you age, a common complaint is that things tend to slip your mind a bit more, or you’re unable to focus quite the same way as you used to. Interestingly, studies at the University of Toronto have shown increasing similarities between the brain as it ages and the creative brain. Here are some of the trademarks of these similarities:

  1. Broad state of attention over focused state of attention. It may seem like you’re losing your focus, but in fact creative brains find it easier to retain their attention on many different things instead of just one singular focus.
  2. Ability to filter distracting information into problem solving. Similar to above, creative brains are easily distracted and seem to have a million things going on all at once. However, creative brains are much more able to channel all this scattered, distracting information into more creative solutions to problems.
  3. Willingness to disregard certain expectations. The typical caricature of an artistic, creative person is of a person who breaks the rules, who lives on their own terms. In a similar way, as we age we are more apt to throw out certain unnecessary societal norms, thereby leading to more creativity.
  4. Access to lots of information gained over the years. Even creativity needs a foundation of knowledge to rest on, and older adults have a lifetime of learning to draw from! The many experiences throughout your life can tie together in unexpected ways… you never know where your knowledge might take you!

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