This is your brain working

This image represents what your brain looks like while working.

More precisely: it’s a visual chart of neural signals firing over time, a representation of how thoughts work in the brain. Compared to a computer, this type of representation resembles that of a digital signal, with 0 and 1 states for processes (you did know that’s how computers work, right?).

To understand how creativity works we have to better understand how thought processes work, and one thing we understand is that the brain is neither analog or digital in how it works, it’s a little bit of both.

In answering the question Is the human brain analog or digital? Paul King explains:

“The brain is neither analog nor digital, but works using a signal processing paradigm that has some properties in common with both… all of the signals sent around the brain are ‘either-or’ states that are similar to [digital languages]. A neuron fires or it does not. These all-or-nothing pulses are the basic language of the brain.”

So everything going through your brain when you have an idea, or while you’re reading these words, is very similar to a binary on-or-off state. What’s really interesting about these signals is that they never follow the same route twice, because the brain is such a vast, dynamic system.

To quote Paul again: “One of the central tasks of neuroscience is to figure out how this information processing paradigm works.”

There’s a lot of signals going on and off inside that head of yours right now. To understand where ideas come from and how they work this type of imagery can go a long way. Plus it’s interesting to look at, don’t you think?