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Guest Lecture - Rex Jung

Lauren Erica Davis

Dr. Rex Jung talked about the difference between intelligence and creativity. He defined creativity as the production of something novel and useful, while intelligence is the ability to solve problems through reasoning. IQ tests are very accurate measure of intelligence which are highly predictive of education level, income, and longevity. Creativity is harder to measure. To measure creativity, his team asked people to think of as many uses for a brick as they could in a certain amount of time and then rated their answers on a scale of 1-5. A main difference he emphasized is that intelligence is innate, while creativity can be learned.

As a side note, he talked about IQ testing and the way it has changed over the last 100 years because the average intelligence has gone up in richer societies. He posits that this is because of better nutrition and literacy rates. He also noted that the increase in intelligence has leveled off more recently as maximum literacy and nutrition have been reached.

Jung's research centers around looking at the brains of people and rating them by intelligence and creativity and determining the differences in their brains. He discussed Einstein's brain which has 12% larger parietal lobes than the average person and has no operculum. He discussed technology (MRI, PET scans, EEG etc.) that is used for imaging the brain and the activity in the brain, and showed us some images of his brain and the connections in his corpus callosum. He also discussed people with frontal lobe dementia who become more creative as their frontal lobe degenerates.

Jung discussed common myths about creativity and creative people. The first of which was that you must be a genius to be creative. Second you must be crazy. And last, that right brain people are more creative than left brained people. He went on to discuss different types of creativity, which he classified as cognitive, artistic, spontaneous, and humor. He also discussed the four steps in the creative cycle 1. verification, 2. preparation, 3. incubation, 4. illumination, and discussed what he calls the 5 P's of creativity, prepare, practice, play, produce, persevere. His main emphasis was that to be creative you must produce a lot. To emphasize this point he discussed Picasso who produced 20,000 paintings, only 1000 of which were collectable pieces of art worth any money.

The take home message I got from this lecture is that creativity is a process, whether it is art or science. Without the process you can't produce. Production requires time, it requires being willing to fail, because if you produce enough, some things will fail, and you can't succeed without producing A LOT of failures, but failure is not a bad thing, because it is part of the process.


  1. Can a measure of creativity ever be objective?
  2. Is there any correlation between genius level intelligence and creativity? Or are people like Einstein geniuses and exceptionally creative as well and therefore they produce better results than other geniuses? If you are a genius, but are uncreative will you have a less exceptional career and produce less or is intelligence without creativity still enough?
  3. Is there a difference between the brains of artists verses the brains of scientists? Do different types of creativity come from different parts of the brain?

Future directions

  1. I would want to do brain scans and tests on children learning to read to see how reading affects their brains.
  2. I would want to study the brains and intelligence of undernourished people vs. well nourished people to see where the difference is. I think this could give incite into which parts of the brain are used for intelligence. I would think that there would be some parts of the brain that are needed for survival and these would be developed at the expense of less necessary parts which may correlate to reason and intelligence?
  3. I would look at things other than intelligence, like artistic ability, or athletic ability to see how different the brains of people in different fields are.