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A Conversation with Jonah Lehrer

From: National Endowment for the Arts
Series: Art Works Podcast
Length: 34:07

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Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works, discusses the new science of creativity. [34:06] Read the full description.

Lehrer110_small Creativity and innovation are getting a lot of play these days.  Everyone seems to agree these are the engines that propel art, science and business. Less clear, is where creativity and innovation come from? Are there muses? Is there a creative class? An innovative type? Well, Jonah Lehrer has stepped into the fray with his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works. In Imagine, Lehrer looks at the new science of creativity and demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. Rather, it's a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively. Drawing from a wide array of scientific and sociological research, and with examples ranging from the songs of Bob Dylan to the architecture of Pixar to the invention of the Swiffer, Lehrer spells out the connection between neuroscience and creative expression, and in the process, reveals the deep inventiveness of the human mind.

Jonah Lehrer is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine and the author of How We Decide and Proust was a Neuroscientist. He dropped by the studio recently to talk about Imagine: How Creativity Works.

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Piece Description

Creativity and innovation are getting a lot of play these days.  Everyone seems to agree these are the engines that propel art, science and business. Less clear, is where creativity and innovation come from? Are there muses? Is there a creative class? An innovative type? Well, Jonah Lehrer has stepped into the fray with his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works. In Imagine, Lehrer looks at the new science of creativity and demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. Rather, it's a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively. Drawing from a wide array of scientific and sociological research, and with examples ranging from the songs of Bob Dylan to the architecture of Pixar to the invention of the Swiffer, Lehrer spells out the connection between neuroscience and creative expression, and in the process, reveals the deep inventiveness of the human mind.

Jonah Lehrer is a contributing editor at Wired Magazine and the author of How We Decide and Proust was a Neuroscientist. He dropped by the studio recently to talk about Imagine: How Creativity Works.

Transcript

Transcript of conversation with Jonah Lehrer

Jonah Lehrer: We all know that the culture we live in matters but I wanted to really understand exactly how that plays out and so I looked at so-called ages of excess genius. These periods that recur throughout history where you don't get just one genius, you get this clot of geniuses, this cluster, so ancient Athens, Renaissance Florence. In the book I focus on Elizabethan England where it's not just William Shakespeare. It's William Shakespeare, it's Christopher Marlowe, it's John Dunn, it's Francis Bacon. The list goes on and on; all these geniuses living basically living in the same zip code at the same time. It's quite mysterious and for a long time historians wrote these off as accidental flukes but you do see, I think, recurring patterns in all these ages of excess genius. You see things like these are periods where there was a vast ex...
Read the full transcript

Related Website

http://www.arts.gov/artworks/?p=13045