Learning Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, +7300 Readings

Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

From Complexity to Creativity: Explorations in Evolutionary, Autopoietic, and Cognitive Dynamics

Cybernetic pioneer Warren McCullough asked: “What is a man, that he may know a number; and what is a number, that a man may know it?” Thinking along much the same lines, my question here is: “What is a creative mind, that it might emerge from a complex system; and what is a complex system, that it might give rise to a creative mind?” Complexity science is a fashionable topic these days. My perspective on complexity, however, is a somewhat unusual one: I am interested in complex systems science principally as it reflects on abstract mathematical, computational models of mind. In my three previous books, The Structure of Intelligence, Evolving Mind, and Chaotic Logic, I have outlined a comprehensive complex-systems-theoretic theory of mind that I now call the psynet model. This book is a continuation of the research program presented in my previous books (and those books will be frequently referred to here, by the nicknames EM and CL). One might summarize the trajectory of thought spanning these four books as follows. SI formulated a philosophy and mathematics of mind, based on theoretical computer science and the concept of “pattern. ” EM analyzed the theory of evolution by natural selection in similar terms, and used this computational theory of evolution to establish the evolutionary nature of thought.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

September 10, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Music, Language, and the Brain – Evolution

From an evolutionary standpoint, language and music are peculiar phenomena, because they appear in only one species: Homo sapiens. The closest that nonhuman animals have come to language has been in studies in which pygmy chimpanzees learn a simple vocabulary and syntax based on interactions with humans. Although these results are fascinating and important, these animals show no evidence of a language-like communicative system in the wild, based on either vocal or gestural signals. Furthermore, even the most precocious language-trained apes, who may acquire a few hundred words, are far surpassed by ordinary human children, who learn thousands of words and complex grammatical structures in the first few years of life. Finally, no primate has ever been successfully trained to speak, despite numerous efforts. Language, as we commonly understand the term, is the sole province of humans.

What of music? Initially it may seem that music is not unique to humans, because many species produce “songs” that strike us as musical. Songbirds and certain whales are notable singers, and in some species, such as the European nightingale, an individual singer can have hundreds of songs involving recombination of discrete elements in different sequences. Furthermore, songbirds and singing whales are not born knowing their song, but like humans, learn by listening to adults.


Read also: The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition

The Cultural Part of Cognition

Culture in Mind: Toward a Sociology of Culture and Cognition

Music, Language, and the Brain

In the first comprehensive study of the relationship between music and language from the standpoint of cognitive neuroscience, Aniruddh D. Patel challenges the widespread belief that music and language are processed independently. Since Plato’s time, the relationship between music and language has attracted interest and debate from a wide range of thinkers. Recently, scientific research on this topic has been growing rapidly, as scholars from diverse disciplines, including linguistics, cognitive science, music cognition, and neuroscience are drawn to the music-language interface as one way to explore the extent to which different mental abilities are processed by separate brain mechanisms. Accordingly, the relevant data and theories have been spread across a range of disciplines. This volume provides the first synthesis, arguing that music and language share deep and critical connections, and that comparative research provides a powerful way to study the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying these uniquely human abilities.


How Playing Music Changes the Learning Brain

Creativity and the Brain: What We Can Learn From Jazz Musicians

Written by Giorgio Bertini

August 14, 2015 at 9:19 am

Where Creativity Flourishes – On the Edge of Chaos

If it’s true, in Sir Ken Robinson’s words, that “Creativity is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity,” then it’s that much more imperative to find ways to bring creativity to learning. But first, we have to understand what conditions foster true creativity. One definition that scientists have agreed upon for creativity is the ability to create something that’s both novel as compared to what came before, and has value. “It’s this intersection of novelty and value, a combination of those two features that’s particularly important,” Dr. Robert Bilder, a psychiatry and psychology professor at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. In any system, there are forces pushing towards organization and others introducing unpredictability. A truly creative idea straddles both of those states. “The truly creative changes and the big shifts occur right at the edge of chaos,” Bilder said.


Read also: Sir Ken Robinson: Creativity Is In Everything, Especially Teaching

Can Any School Foster Pure Creativity?

How Emotional Connections Can Trigger Creativity and Learning

Promoting Creativity through Explicit Teaching Strategies

Creativity is a recognizable and valued skill but is prone to multiple interpretations both in terms of its very nature and how it can be developed in students. This paper highlights one approach that has been taken in an undergraduate unit in creativity that has involved the implementation of a staff development program in applying explicit teaching strategies. The approach integrates a conceptual model of teaching creativity with the application of a professional development program called Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID). The intervention was undertaken as part of an OLT grant in collaboration with Victoria University that explored the value of training teaching staff in explicit teaching strategies. Initial findings suggest that students responded well to the program and perceived value in terms of their engagement in learning and the development of their own creativity.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

August 5, 2015 at 11:29 am

The Power of Curiosity to Stimulate Innovation for Sustainability

Curiosity is a multi-dimensional concept with no single definition, and overlaps extensively with related concepts, including creativity, inquisitiveness and openness to experience. In the context of this conceptual ambiguity, we approached curiosity through the following working definition: a focussed or exploratory inquisitiveness that motivates us to connect what we don’t know to what we do know. How Might Curiosity Help Stimulate Innovation for Sustainability? Curiosity is dually important for innovation, first in its link to creativity and divergent thinking, and second in its role as an intrinsic motivator to sustain interest in a given area. There is a coherent and compelling case that links curiosity to the challenge of creating sustainable patterns of energy supply and demand, and promoting energy efficiency. In the context of new technologies that allow us to find things out easily and quickly, the overarching challenge at an educational level is to support deeper forms of curiosity; those that arise from cultivating interest in the complexities of our own natures, embodied engagement with technical challenges, and cultivating expert curiosity through sustained commitment to a particular field or practice.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education

Ken Robinson is one of the world’s most influential voices in education, and his 2006 TED Talk on the subject is the most viewed in the organization’s history. Now, the internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential focuses on one of the most critical issues of our time: how to transform the nation’s troubled educational system. At a time when standardized testing businesses are raking in huge profits, when many schools are struggling, and students and educators everywhere are suffering under the strain, Robinson points the way forward. He argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the twenty-first century. Filled with anecdotes, observations and recommendations from professionals on the front line of transformative education, case histories, and groundbreaking research—and written with Robinson’s trademark wit and engaging style—Creative Schools will inspire teachers, parents, and policy makers alike to rethink the real nature and purpose of education.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

A Cultural and Systemic View of Distributed Creativity

This article discusses the limitations of the first generation of creativity-management technologies based on the psychological theories of intelligence and problem solving. The turn into a cultural and systemic conceptions in the psychology of creativity is analysed. It is argued that this psychology converges with the ideas developed in the sociology of knowledge, the history of technological systems, and activity theory as well as in innovation studies. All of them underline the significance of artefact-mediated communities, domains or practices. They agree on the importance of combining heterogeneous cultural resources and knowledge by horizontal networking across the boundaries of knowledge and activity domains. The internet-mediated new communities are discussed as emerging forms of distributed creation. A challenge for the management of creativity is to study and learn from the emerging problems, means and patterns of conduct of these communities.

A vital question in managing creativity is related to the mobilization of heterogeneous cultural resources within domains and across the boundaries of domains. This will take place in horizontal networks that cannot be managed in the ways characteristic of the market and hierarchical organization. The development of information technology, especially the Internet, is rapidly giving rise to new forms of distributed creation and new types of communities. This development is still in its early stage, and new technologies have unprecedented potential for novel uses and organizational forms. Therefore, it is vital to learn from the organizational principles and critical problems of the open developmental model and other forms of Internet-mediated activities.


Collaborative Creativity: A Complex Systems Model with Distributed Affect

The study of creativity has received significant attention over the past century, with a recent increase in interest in collaborative, distributed creativity. We posit that creativity in distributed groups is fostered by software interfaces that specifically enable socio-emotional or affective communication. However, previous work on creativity and affect has primarily focused on the individual, while group creativity research has concentrated more on cognition rather than affect. In this paper we propose a new model for creativity in distributed groups, based on the theory of groups as complex systems, that includes affect as well as cognition and that explicitly calls out the interface between individuals as a key parameter of the model. We describe the model, the four stages of collaborative creativity and the causal dynamics in each stage, and demonstrate how affect and interface can facilitate the generation, selection, and amplification of ideas in the various stages of collaborative creativity. We then validate our model with data from three field sites. The data was collected from longitudinal studies of two distributed groups involved in producing creative products—astrophysicists studying supernovae and the expansion rate of the universe and children creating multimedia programming projects online—and interviews with staff in a multinational engineering company.


Distributed Creativity: Thinking Outside the Box of the Creative Individual

This book challenges the standard view that creativity comes only from within an individual by arguing that creativity also exists ‘outside’ of the mind or more precisely, that the human mind extends through the means of action into the world. The notion of ‘distributed creativity’ is not commonly used within the literature and yet it has the potential to revolutionise the way we think about creativity, from how we define and measure it to what we can practically do to foster and develop creativity. Drawing on cultural psychology, ecological psychology and advances in cognitive science, this book offers a basic framework for the study of distributed creativity that considers three main dimensions of creative work: sociality, materiality and temporality. Starting from the premise that creativity is distributed between people, between people and objects and across time, the book reviews theories and empirical examples that help us unpack each of these dimensions and above all, articulate them into a novel and meaningful conception of creativity as a simultaneously psychological and socio-material process. The volume concludes by examining the practical implications in adopting this perspective on creativity.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 21, 2015 at 5:15 am


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