New Research Explains the Role That Alpha Brain Waves Play in Creative Thinking

Lots of professions and positions require creative thinking, demanding people to come up with creative and original ideas. This interests scientists as they are not sure how the neurological process unfolds creativity.

Recently, however, researchers have zeroed in to the role that alpha waves play. By understanding their role in sparking creativity, researchers are in a better position to comprehend creative thinking. Let’s walk you through what the scientists have uncovered:

The Role of Alpha Waves in Creative Thinking

Alpha waves are at their strongest when the brain’s visual cortex is resting. For instance, alpha waves are at their peak when a person is relaxed and his eyes are closed. Under such circumstances, alpha waves activity is at its peak.

However, when a person opens his eyes, the activity of alpha waves attenuates. Recently, scientists are suggesting that there may be a link between creativity and the strength of these waves.

Details and Findings of the Latest Study

New research digs into the details of the role that alpha brain waves play in the creative thinking process. Researcher, Caroline Di Bernardi Luft, Ph.D., from the United Kingdom’s Queen Mary University of London led a team to find the correlation between high alpha brain activity and people’s ability to come up with well-known and original ideas.

The findings of the study were published in the journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. The team used electrical current to stimulate the brain’s temporal part of the brain at the alpha frequency.

Such an action plan was taken over when the participants where engaged in creative tasks. The procedure used to stimulate the brain in this research was transcranial alternating current brain stimulation (tACS). The researchers used an ECG to monitor the impact of tACS on different brain waves.

The participants were tested with word associations. Generally, when the brain is asked to connect words with one another, the brain starts by making associations between common words. It then proceeds with making associations with less familiar words.

During their investigations, the researchers found out that the high levels of alpha brain waves in the brain’s right temporal regions showed when the participants came up with less expected/common (creative) answers.

These findings showed the nature of creativity and how the alpha brain waves help in creative thinking. These brain waves help favor the unexpected answers in contrast with habitual thinking ways.

Summing Up

Science has been doing its best to understand creative thinking, how the brain thinks creatively, and what can be done to promote greater creative thinking. A fruit of these explorations is this study that has established the role that alpha brain waves play in promoting creative thinking process.

The researchers have confirmed that the activity of these alpha brain waves increases in the right temporal brain region. When that happens, you are better able to come up with creative answers and solutions.