Brain Day un­cov­ers what makes us cre­ative

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Get your think­ing cap on and your grey mat­ter ready.

Brain Day is coming to Auck­land next week and aims to bust myths about cre­ativ­ity.

Clin­i­cal neu­ro­sci­en­tist Cathy Stin­ear says the day will be a real eye-opener.

‘‘What we’re hop­ing to do is break down the idea that you’re ei­ther cre­ative or you aren’t. It’s for ev­ery­one – we’ve all got a brain.’’

The 41-year-old works at the Univer­sity of Auck­land Cen­tre for Brain Re­search. She says this year’s Brain Day is not just for peo­ple af­fected by brain disease.

It will be look­ing at ques­tions such as: Can we train cre­ativ­ity? Can ac­coun­tants be great artists, or sci­en­tists be­come mu­si­cians? What is it that stops us?

‘‘Sci­en­tists can now study cre­ativ­ity it­self. We can look at the brain when you have those eureka mo­ments. What is the brain do­ing? How is it fir­ing then?’’

And cre­ativ­ity does not have to be any­thing out of the or­di­nary.

A stay-at-home mum is imag­i­na­tive in ev­ery­thing from the voices she uses in bed­time sto­ries to what she chooses to put on the din­ner ta­ble, Dr Stin­ear says.

‘‘Those ac­tiv­i­ties are in­tensely cre­ative. Don’t just as­sume it’s all for other peo­ple. We can all be cre­ative and lively and our brain will be bet­ter for it if we do.’’

Brain Aware­ness Week is a global cam­paign run­ning from March 11-17 to in­crease aware­ness about the ben­e­fits of brain re­search.

It gives sci­en­tists the chance to demon­strate where New Zealan­ders’ money goes when they do­nate to brain re­search, she says.

‘‘The brain is one of the last great fron­tiers in re­search. To me that’s in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing.’’

Auck­land Brain Day topics in­clude the need for adults to play; art as ther­apy; un­der­stand­ing emo­tion through sci­ence and the pos­si­ble ben­e­fits of brain dis­eases.

The event has been run­ning for the last eight years un­der the Neu­ro­log­i­cal Foun­da­tion of New Zealand’s spon­sor­ship.

It is one of four bustling brain days through­out the coun­try and at­tracts more than 3000 peo­ple ev­ery year.

Neu­ro­log­i­cal Foun­da­tion gen­eral man­ager Sue Gid­dens says Brain Day also aims to demon­strate how peo­ple can live health­ier lives.

‘‘We wanted to show­case the power and reach of neu­ro­log­i­cal re­search and the hope that it pro­vides to hun­dreds and thou­sands of New Zealan­ders.

‘‘But it’s also about peo­ple be­ing aware that what’s good for your heart is good for your brain.’’


Brain food: Clin­i­cal neu­ro­sci­en­tist Cathy Stin­ear says Brain Day is for ev­ery­one.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­ and click on lat­est edi­tion to see a video of last year’s Brain Day.

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