The Washington Post has a brief review of three recently released neuroscience books: ‘The Three Pound Enigma’ by Shannon Moffett, ‘The Creating Brain’ by Nancy Andreasen and ‘The Mature Mind’ by Gene Cohen.
Consider the issue of creativity, which is central to Andreasen’s book and rates a chapter in Cohen’s. No one would doubt that the brain processes the thoughts and actions that later will be called “creative.” But how do creative thoughts differ from ordinary ones? The coincidence between what we label “mental disease” and “creativity” that so puzzled the Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso more than a century ago is still a rather embarrassing finding. How can mental processes that we hold to be among the highest achievements of humankind be so uncomfortably close to those we consider defective or aberrant? And how come Einstein had such poor grooming habits, as Andreasen notes?