From this Newsweek article (about halfway through):
During improvisation, the highly trained music majors used their brains in a way the nonmusicians could not: they deactivated their right-temporoparietal junction. Normally, the r-TPJ reads incoming stimuli, sorting the stream for relevance. By turning that off, the musicians blocked out all distraction. They hit an extra gear of concentration, allowing them to work with the notes and create music spontaneously.
Sounds like flow, no?
- The definition of creativity is “production of something original and useful.”
- The mental process of creative thinking is “alternating between divergent and convergent thinking.”
The article gets a lot better in the latter half, including a sketch of a problem-solving process:
- Fact-finding. Understand what’s going on. This is a perpetual process, but becomes targeted as you enter a project.
- Problem-finding. Defining all of the challenges to be overcome.
- Idea-finding. Now that you understand the space and the challenges, brainstorm.
- Solution-finding. The editorial phase where each idea is judged (and criteria for judgement are defined).
- Testing implementations. (It gets a little fuzzy here.)
I think action can be woven into more of these phases, from idea-finding onwards.