Neil Greenberg Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. CREATIVE BEHAVIOR. NOTE – stretching toward ART & ORGANISM. CREATIVITY is associated with biological stress:
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CREATIVITY is associated with biological stress:
It provides a unique problem that engages many of the aspects of behavioral biology in which I am most interested:
It is a dramatic expression of the same kind of cognitive transcendence (going beyond the immediate situation) that we find in learning . . .
… particularly involving the biology of stress, and the integrative function of the brain
 Creativityis more than a trait of a few extraordinary individuals
 Stressis more than a massive response to life-threatening challenge
 The “R-Complex” is more than a regulator of motor acts
-apologies to Maslow
“In animals, almost invariably, a change in behavior is the crucial factor initiating evolutionary innovation” (Ernst Mayr 1988).
Behavior creates new selective pressures (Mark Baldwin via Deacon 1998)
The “Ritualization” of signals a model:
fragments of motor patterns or autonomoic reflexesbecome temporally or spatially associated as an ensemble (Morris 1956, Hinde and Tinbergen 1958)
The “Central Adaptation Syndrome”(Huether 1996).
Controllable stressors lead to a “go and specialize” strategy (e.g., earlier recognition and avoidance, improved fighting strategies, refined submission behavior)
Uncontrollable stressors lead to a “wait and reorganize” strategy (e.g., CS reorganization of neural circuits; tuning of learning, motivation, and emotional states)
Stress-sensitive intersections of motivation, affect, and cognition are candidates for evolutionary change.
Valence of affect : positive, cortical-limbic areas; negative, subcortical-limbic areas(Paradiso et al. 1999)
note: male anoles with subcortical lesions act like castrates- they attend stimuli but are not motivated to respond aggressively (“social agnosia,” recalling autistic failure to recognize signals)
Active versus passive copingparallel autonomic strategies correlated with activity in discrete columns of periaquaductal gray(Bandler et al. 2000)
“take-home” messages that might emerge from considering these ideas are …
…nonspecific stress responses and sex steroids involve arousal and attention and motivation
…close ethological description and temporal resolution can reveal unexpected mechanisms
…the comparative approach can indicate evolutionary paths that my have been taken
… field and laboratory work are mutually stimulating
… hormones “multi-task” in the brain as well as in the body
… there are multiple input, integration, and output options and pathways for evolutionary bricolage
CREATIVITY provides a unique problem that engages many of the aspects of behavioral biology in which I am most interested:
It is a dramatic expression of the same kind of cognitive transcendence that we find in learning . . .
Particularly involving the biology of stress, and the integrative function of the brain
 Creativityis an adaptive trait that underlies art and play
 Stress psychoactive hormones can inhibit or facilitate the neural processes that underlie creativity
 The striatal (“R”) Complexmay be the interface between cognitive and motor acts and contribute to the prioritizing of needs