Monday, May 24, 2010

Thalamic Dopamine D2 Receptor Densities Are Negatively Related to Psychometric Creativity in Healthy Individuals (Paper about Creativity and Brain)


An interesting paper about the correlation between creativity ("thinking outside the box") and the density of dopamine receptors in thalamus and cortex.

Thinking Outside a Less Intact Box: Thalamic Dopamine D2 Receptor Densities Are Negatively Related to Psychometric Creativity in Healthy Individuals



10 comments :

Boris Kazachenko said...

D2 receptors are inhibitory. What this means is, more D2 = more selective focus, & more analytical depth. Less D2 = more scattershot ("artistic") analogical associations. It's a breadth vs depth trade-off :).

Todor "Tosh" Arnaudov said...

I see, I may have a very few of them. :)

But I don't know, there should be something more/higher that may alter/cancel this, because hybrid artist-scientists sometimes do focus very well - when developing software or writing a coherent story. Generation of "scattershot" association is a start, eventually details must be added anyway.

Maybe this is just an artistic association, but:

Less inhibition =>
=> more active "circuits" in parallel
=> higher raw computing power achieved with the same amount of cognitive resources
=> more re-usage of cognitive resources and learning in parallel/re-usage of learning

Boris Kazachenko said...

> But I don't know, there should be something more/higher that may alter/cancel this, because hybrid artist-scientists sometimes do focus very well - when developing software or writing a coherent story. Generation of "scattershot" association is a start, eventually details must be added anyway.

There're plenty of artist-programmers, but not artist-scientists (although you can make the distinction between scientists & engineers pretty fuzzy, if you really want to :)).
It's easier to focus on superficial things with a relatively short feed-back loop, - you can actually *see* a pretty design or a working code.
The details is what you start with (again), the "depth" is gained by selectively removing them. Selection expands the range of search for remaining patterns, in terms of their original coordinates.

> Maybe this is just an artistic association, but:
Less inhibition => more active "circuits" in parallel
=> higher raw computing power achieved with the same amount of cognitive resources
=> more re-usage of cognitive resources and learning in parallel/re-usage of learning

"Raw power" *is* cognitive resources. The brain is metabolically constrained, & it's not just callories. Yes, you may have more active & efficient metabolism than the average. But the advantage is not even comparable to what you can gain by focusing effectively, - it's not what you got, it's how you use it.
All "circuits" in the brain are active in parallel, but "parallel" can mean within or across generalization levels.

Todor "Tosh" Arnaudov said...

>There're plenty of artist-programmers, but not artist-scientists (although you can make the distinction
between scientists & engineers pretty fuzzy, if you really want to :)).

I think I do make the distinction:

Scientists are like cognitive algorithm - do process "raw data" and induce generalizations out of it, they do compress raw data into laws, then use laws to induce higher level laws etc.

Typical engineers/programmers use to combine and apply the laws/generalizations that are understood by scientists, without moving it further to a new level of understanding.

In trade-off terms, it's exploration (research) vs exploitation (engineering). However, some engineers are
scientists as well.

>It's easier to focus on superficial things with a relatively short feed-back loop, - you can actually *see* a
pretty design or a working code. The details is what you start with (again), the "depth" is gained by
selectively removing them. Selection expands the range of search for remaining patterns, in terms of their original coordinates.

OK, "from concrete/specific to abstract", & selection is the tricky part I'm not good in yet. :)


>"Raw power" *is* cognitive resources. The brain is metabolically constrained, & it's not just callories. Yes, you may have more active & efficient metabolism than the average. But the advantage is not even comparable to what you can gain by focusing effectively, - it's not what you got, it's how you use it.
All "circuits" in the brain are active in parallel, but "parallel" can mean within or across generalization levels.

BTW, how about phenomena like this:

- I had a period of several years when I hadn't drawn almost anything. When I started again, I found my skills had improved on their own. This was in the myelination period, teen years, if it can be an explanation.

Boris Kazachenko said...

Not quite, everyone has the same cognitive algorithm (which includes both feedforward & feedback), but scientists have more lossy/selective "bias". Engineers take things more litteraly.

>> OK, "from concrete/specific to abstract", & selection is the tricky part I'm not good in yet. :)

Sorry to keep rubbing it in.

>> I had a period of several years when I hadn't drawn almost anything. When I started again, I found my skills had improved on their own. This was in the myelination period, teen years, if it can be an explanation.

I'm not sure, it depends on what you include in "drawing skills".
Myelination usually improves with usage, but various skills you practice for different purpose may contribute to drawing.

Todor "Tosh" Arnaudov said...

>Not quite, everyone has the same cognitive algorithm (which includes both feedforward & feedback), but scientists have more lossy/selective "bias". Engineers take things more litteraly.

Hmmm, this sounds overgeneralized to me, a form of "racism". :) Isn't the "lossyness" bias dependant also on patterns you (are supposed to) operate with. If you have to design a CPU in a given term, you don't have time for too much of deep thinking.

Are electronic engineers (who do study lots of physics), who're doing a PhD in semiconductors, becoming scientists or they keep being engineers?


>I'm not sure, it depends on what you include in "drawing skills".
Myelination usually improves with usage, but various skills you practice for different purpose may contribute to drawing.

Drawing skills:

- precision/correctness (the drawing matches more closely the original/reality or imitates it)
- cleaner lines (when they should be)
- better and richer reproduction of volume/depth

Boris Kazachenko said...

It works both ways, most people choose jobs that suit their cognitive bias, & then the job can tune that bias a good deal too. Brain is not a CPU, it's functional bias is wired, & that wiring takes a while to change.
Physics is the least selectively lossy of sciences, & I am sure some branches of engineering are lossier.

Drawing skills you describe involve a lot of fine motor skills, which you obviously practice for other purposes.

Todor "Tosh" Arnaudov said...

>Physics is the least selectively
>lossy of sciences,
>& I am sure some branches of engineering are
>lossier.

OK, but it's funny that physiscs is such a basic science.
What's your golden standard for a science - Cosmology and Biology?


>It works both ways, most people
>choose jobs that suit their
>cognitive bias, & then the job
>can tune that bias a good deal
>too. Brain is not a CPU, it's functional bias is wired, & that wiring takes a while to change.

Sometimes it's not that clear what suits you and there are non-cognitive forces that direct you, like in what University & specialty you've been enrolled in; random events that attract you to something, payment, prestige, what's available in the market, what attracted your attention in this very moment and then you get "locked" there, etc.

I've got colleagues from University and job who were capable of mastering anything with ease, they could be excellent researchers if they wished so, but they do boring programming for money; however they agree this is not the most exciting job they wished to do.

>Drawing skills you describe
>involve a lot of fine motor
>skills, which you obviously
>practice for other purposes.

Well, I thought good drawing skills is the ability to make drawings to appear realistic/correct/precise/clean, and there's more than fine motion behind, it's about visual-spatial processing.

Everybody types and uses a mouse and that was the only major hand practice I've did in that particular period (& hand-writing). Have thought about such transfer of learning, but I don't think it's the case here.

Drawing is mapping and keeping track of relations, it requires to locate, select, measure, remember and remap/rescale relations (proportions) between the object that is drawn (imagined or real) and what's drawn so far on the paper or screen. You have to focus on details that you're drawing at the moment, have to convert 3D to 2D, to keep attention on perspective changes, do "hidden lines removal"; have to focus and recognize features which may mark and emphasize depth etc.

And while you must focus on details, you have to have constant feedback with the whole picture, and it gets harder for shapes with curves without close crossing lines - crossing lines simplify your job and serve as "check-points".

Drawing shapes with less and more distant "check points" is harder for keeping proportions in tact, you have to watch and analyze a bigger picture all the time; it requires more memory capacity and higher precision of recognition and remapping of proportions.

I suspect the progress might be more likely from improved selective focus and widen working-memory capacity for proportions; also more organic understanding of perspective and depth clues.

Boris Kazachenko said...

There's no golden standard, bias should suit the subject. It's a spectrum of increasingly hierarchical selection/application of data, from Physics to Philosophy, with corresponding increase in ambiguity & dysfunctionality. AI really belongs in Philosophy, - Epistemology, but philosophers are a bunch of clueless fluffers.

> random events that attract you to something,

Right, I only care about the non-random part, & that part really matters in something as extreme as AI. I would only consider arts or programming if I was starving.
Anyway, I did my best to explain these things my "Cognitive focus" knol:
http://knol.google.com/k/cognitive-focus-generalist-vs-specialist-bias#, you're welcome to comment there.

>I've got colleagues from University and job who were capable of mastering anything with ease,

Not *anything*.

> I suspect the progress might be more likely from improved selective focus and widen working-memory capacity for proportions; also more organic understanding of perspective and depth clues.

You should know better, I never cared much for drawing.

Todor "Tosh" Arnaudov said...

OK! Sorry for bothering you about drawing.