Scientists have a bad creative rap, Jung said, because their work is more tangible and “real.”
STEM Education in the 21st Century
“Our work builds on previous work-you’re standing on the shoulders of giants,” he said. “We’re incrementally working to expand upon previous work, and that is deemed less creative, or somehow derivative. But I would argue that artists do the same thing.” Cubist artists built upon the foundation of impressionism, Jung noted, just as scientists innovate based on the work conducted before their own.*
In 1926, social psychologist Graham Wallas wrote a book called ” The Art of Thought ” in which he described the four stages of creativity: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. Jung, who has written a number of articles about the neuroscience of creativity, noted that the stage between incubation and illumination involves a pretty big cognitive handoff.
When an idea is incubating, Jung says, you rely heavily on the neural connections your brain uses for brainstorming-a system known as the default-mode network: “You use the regions of the brain involved in daydreaming and imagination. You’re looking inward instead of solving the problems of the world.” That allows ideas to bounce around and intersect in novel ways.
But the cognitive control network takes over once your brain wants to articulate and implement the idea. This is your brain’s error checker, where you plan and make decisions to overcome your habitual inclinations.