“Creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward…. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is ‘most serious’….
“Highly creative adults tended to grow up in families embodying opposites. Parents encouraged uniqueness, yet provided stability. They were highly responsive to kids’ needs, yet challenged kids to develop skills…. In the space between anxiety and boredom was where creativity flourished.
“Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. Why, why, why—sometimes parents just wish it’d stop. Tragically, it does stop. By middle school they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same time is when student motivation and engagement plummet…
“When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. “After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud,” says . “They said, ‘You’re racing toward our old model. But we’re racing toward your model, as fast as we can.’
“Researchers say creativity should be taken out of the art room and put into homeroom…. Creativity isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process.
“Creativity requires constant shifting, blender pulses of both divergent thinking and convergent thinking, to combine new information with old and forgotten ideas… The attention system must radically reverse gears, going from defocused attention to extremely focused attention. In a flash, the brain pulls together these disparate shreds of thought and binds them into a new single idea that enters consciousness. This is the “aha!” moment of insight, often followed by a spark of pleasure as the brain recognizes the novelty of what it’s come up with.
“The lore of pop psychology is that creativity occurs on the right side of the brain. But we now know that if you tried to be creative using only the right side of your brain, it’d be like living with ideas perpetually at the tip of your tongue.”