How Does Creativity Work?

Paula Jean Ferri
4 min readSep 16, 2021


Creativity is intelligence having fun — Albert Einstein

I’ve done a bit of study lately on the neuroscience behind creativity. I just want to share some awesome findings with you.

We all have something called latent inhibition in varying levels, high or low. Latent inhibition is what allows us to process information.

High latent inhibition allows us to shut off the constant stream of information and take what is most important for processing. High levels often result in a high intelligence level because we are able to focus on what’s most important without distractions.

Low latent inhibition means we process all the stimulus we take in, often resulting in overwhelm (sound familiar to any neurodiverse out there?).

BUT it allows us to remember fine details and see a bigger picture. This leads to enhanced creativity. To create, the more stimuli that is available for processing, the more creative ideas are possible.

Know that it is possible to vascilate between the two (high and low latent inhibition) and both are possible. Sometimes I get so in the zone that everything else fades away and I am completely unaware of anything else going on. High levels.

Other times, I’m hearing every conversation, smelling every perfume and cologne in the room, watching hundreds of dancing couples, feeling the heat of the room and my sweat trickling down the side of my face, and trying to dance at the same time. Low levels.

Do you see the difference even in the last two paragraphs in regards to creativity?

We need ideas to play with in order to create. Creatives tend to be more passionate because they are taking it all in.

In my Creating Creativity online course, I talk about overwhelm and underwhelm. Creativity happens after we have absorbed all the stimuli and have processed them.

We need new things to stimulate our brains so we aren’t in underwhelm. We can’t create while feeling overwhelmed. Being in a state of balance is that magic sweet spot when we can take all the new things we have experienced and put it to good use.

It isn’t an automatic selection process like those with high latent inhibition. We take the “unimportant” and “irrelevant” and show why it is important and relevant.

Isn’t that exactly what art does? It focuses on details we miss every day in our comings and goings.

They are small. But they are profound.

Experiencing overwhelm isn’t in itself a bad thing. It means we have more information to shift through, but it’s like thrift shopping, you can find some absolutely precious gems and treasures of you are willing to take the time to slow down and look through everything.

But How Do I Not Feel Overwhelmed by Everything?

Meditation allows us to process lots of information more slowly. It allows us to be present and absorb all the details with less anxiety so we can go right to the beauty of the details rather than skimming over them, or not appreciating them until the moment is gone.

But even then, the beauty doesn’t fade.

This is essentially what journaling has done for me over the years. I sit in a room with no distractions and low stimuli to pour out and process these details. I remember and record these details to enjoy over and over again.

This is how I have determined what is really important, found patterns, and made choices that have led me to the life I live.

Because essentially, this is what everyone is trying to create.

Regardless of the medium you use for your particular art form, your creations are a form of expression, and you express what you know. The life that you experience everyday is the life of your creation, reflected in art.

Make sure you are taking time to yourself, for yourself.

When I go out dancing and have low levels of latent inhibition, it might take me a few days of being a recluse to recover.

When I spent a lot of time on social media, I need to escape to the mountains.

Life is about balance, and the better we get at keeping ourself centered, the easier it is to utilize each experience to the fullest. Whether that be focusing with high levels and getting stuff done like nobody’s business, or taking in every detail, drinking in life to the fullest.

There is not “right” or “wrong” when it comes to latent inhibition. Both ends are important and are to be utilized. It just means there are differences we need to be aware of.

When you are feeling stuck in the creative process, stop and notice more details. List one to five things for each sense: taste, touch, sight, smell, sound. Which of these details most inspire you?

Could any of them connect to a problem you are trying to solve?

Use this little tip for a creative boost.

So Now What?

If you liked any of this information, clap (up to 50x) so others can find it.

You can also find more information about boosting creativity and defeating writer’s block by clicking HERE. I’ll send you a free PDF with my top tips for when you get stuck.