The Graphic Recorder - One Card One Concept - Amphetamines and Creativity The How - Jonah Lehrer - Imagine

The Unconcealing of Insightful Ideas: Sketched Concepts from Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine

I just finished sketching out some of the ideas from the third chapter of Jonah Lehrer‘s book Imagine: How Creativity Works:

The Graphic Recorder - One Card One Concept - Searching for Insight - Jonah Lehrer - Imagine

In the previous chapter Lehrer discusses the circumstances surrounding spontaneous sparks of insight.  This chapter focuses on the deliberate search for insightful ideas.

The Graphic Recorder - One Card One Concept - Insight and the Creative Process Timeline - Jonah Lehrer - Imagine

Though moments of insight are often the most exciting part of the creative process, it is important to remember that they are most often the beginning of that process, not the end.

The Graphic Recorder - One Card One Concept - Amphetamines and Creativity The What - Jonah Lehrer - Imagine

This sketch shows the effect of amphetamines on your state of creativity – they give you the power to focus intently on a particular task so that your can relentlessly refine your initial insight.

The Graphic Recorder - One Card One Concept - Amphetamines and Creativity The How - Jonah Lehrer - Imagine

And here’s how amphetamines do that.  They release dopamine in the synapses between neurons, which facilitates communication between cells, resulting in a more powerful working memory.

The Graphic Recorder - One Card One Concept - Focused Creativity VS Moments of Insight - Jonah Lehrer - Imagine

This sketch shows how focused creativity (convergent thinking) differs from moments of insight (divergent thinking).  The former allows us to focus our attention on the details while the latter opens up pathways to allow for remote associations to be made in the brain.  Both are important in the creative process.

The Graphic Recorder - One Card One Concept - Different Problems Require Different Creative Solutions - Jonah Lehrer - Imagine

But in order to reach the end of the creative process you need to know when to use each approach.  This sketch shows you how.  When you’ve hit a wall, you need to seek out insight-generating environments.  When you feel that you’re close to your goal, focus in and get it done (with the help of amphetamines if you so choose).

The sketches above are part of a project titled One Card One Concept in which I attempt to sketch out individual concepts onto 3×5 note cards in an effort to both understand those concepts better and enhance my ability to recall them in the future.  I hope you find these sketches interesting and maybe even a bit useful.