Monday, July 31, 2006

News@UofT -- Biological basis for creativity linked to mental illness -- September 30, 2003

News@UofT -- Biological basis for creativity linked to mental illness -- September 30, 2003

Proof that we are all a bit nutty! :

iological basis for creativity linked to mental illness
Creative people more open to stimuli from environment

by Jessica Whiteside

Sept. 30, 2003 -- Psychologists from U of T and Harvard University have identified one of the biological bases of creativity

The study in the September issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology says the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment. Other people's brains might shut out this same information through a process called "latent inhibition" - defined as an animal's unconscious capacity to ignore stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs. Through psychological testing, the researchers showed that creative individuals are much more likely to have low levels of latent inhibition.

"This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment," says co-author and U of T psychology professor Jordan Peterson. "The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities."

Previously, scientists have associated failure to screen out stimuli with psychosis. However, Peterson and his co-researchers - lead author and psychology lecturer Shelley Carson of Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard PhD candidate Daniel Higgins - hypothesized that it might also contribute to original thinking, especially when combined with high IQ. They administered tests of latent inhibition to Harvard undergraduates. Those classified as eminent creative achievers - participants under age 21 who reported unusually high scores in a single area of creative achievement - were seven times more likely to have low latent inhibition scores.

The authors hypothesize that latent inhibition may be positive when combined with high intelligence and good working memory - the capacity to think about many things at once - but negative otherwise. Peterson states: "If you are open to new information, new ideas, you better be able to intelligently and carefully edit and choose. If you have 50 ideas, only two or three are likely to be good. You have to be able to discriminate or you'll get swamped."

"Scientists have wondered for a long time why madness and creativity seem linked," says Carson. "It appears likely that low levels of latent inhibition and exceptional flexibility in thought might predispose to mental illness under some conditions and to creative accomplishment under others."

For example, during the early stages of diseases such as schizophrenia, which are often accompanied by feelings of deep insight, mystical knowledge and religious experience, chemical changes take place in which latent inhibition disappears.

"We are very excited by the results of these studies," says Peterson. "It appears that we have not only identified one of the biological bases of creativity but have moved towards cracking an age-old mystery: the relationship between genius, madness and the doors of perception."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Thank you card

Web July2006 030
Originally uploaded by lalheg.
Thank you Elizabeth - for the load of the books, for Edinburgh and for giving me an opportunity to play with my too long neglected sewing machine

Heidi Wedding card

Heidi Wedding card
Originally uploaded by lalheg.
Like everyone else I've been inspired by Beryl Taylor's book so here's my first attempt in using her paper technique with a few additions of my own

Hot work

There's not been a lot of art going on in this house - my room has to be the hottest one down stairs so I've just been a limp rag most of the time. I cobbled together this for the quotes AB RR that I'm in - this is an entry in Kim's Wild and Wicked Women book. The background is more detailed and shimmery than the photo shows - how familiar a cry is that in blogs? as for the wonky O - I'm just blaming vintage rub ons!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I'm too hot

to blog. Normal service will be resumed once the weather cools.......

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Oh delicious

got my first two restaurant reviewing assignments of the year - both next week! Looks like I'll be full of food then eh?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Final leg of the journey

(Apologies that this took so long to add - the power has been shonky all day!) I was so glad to meet the lovely Elizabeth and daughter - it made a great break before the extremely long drive to Cambridgeshire. I was so glad to get there. Maz took me to her altered book group in the evening where we had pizza and ice-cream in my honour (bless) and I taught the ladies a bit about SoulCollage.

I'd done that at the retreat too but timed it wrongly as no one felt relaxed enough with new folk to share their interpretations of the cards they made. At the book group it was quite the reverse and I was deeply moved by the way everyone opened up with their cards. I think that's what stuns me with this process - that the simple act of collaging images opens up so deep a window into the soul. One person unwittingly gave herself permission to feel cleansing and necessary anger while another articulated her tentative steps into a new phase in her life. I'll share my cards (one from the Retreat and one from the group) in a separate post over the weekend.

there will be some photos soon, I promise!

Onto Scotland

So, after my marathon chat with SJ, I had to drive to Scotland the next afternoon. Luckily I had Fiona with me so the time passed rapidly (and it was great to have someone else who understands the value of going to the loo as often as you can!).

I stayed with Kari, so there was a whole lot more talking and laughing, a trip to a craft shop that was closed and a visit to a tea room that was famous for its soup - no soup left. The only way was up after that - so the rest of the day included strawberry tarts; baking heat; Pictish stones; Italian icecream and paddling incorporating sanctioned book vandalism; skeins of silk at £35 each (we just fondled); witch trials, Royal seals and eighteenth century recipes that we were allowed to touch! - no wonder we were exhausted at the end of the day and fell asleep watching St Tim's 2nd DVD. After a good sleep, time for my next adventure - a day's drive to Cambridgeshire leavened by a coffee with Elizabeth.....

My wonderful week

I've just spent a week with various creative women - all of whom as well as sharing their art, have offered friendship and kindness. That's the second time I've typed that sentence. There was lots more, but then the builders who are making a whole new housing estate in the field across from us must have hit the cable - no power just as I pressed the enter key!

Biggest shouts must go to Sarah-Jane for organising the Lake District Arty Retreat (ably abetted by her fab daughter Kate) and Kari and Maz for their wonderful hospitality when I stayed with them in Scotland and Cambridgeshire respectively. Every woman I met at the Retreat was wonderful, but the ones I want to mention in dispatches are Pat (what a talent), Julie (who was so lovely that the first words I blurted out to here were 'oh, you're so pretty!') and my good twin (cos I was the evil one) Fiona who was my companion to Scotland. I was also very taken with Karen's son Matt - even at the tender age of 13 he has an air of solid dependability (defintely without an ounce of wussiness) - I suspect that he has a great future ahead of him.

I didn't make/alter as many items as I hoped, but when the camera recharges I will post pics of the altered handbag, clock hand ATC, chunky book and transparent encasing thing that I 3D doodled with one evening. (I had been enjoying the Stampington Transparent Art book the previous day). I did however stay up until past 4am talking to SJ - not a drop of alcohol passed my lips so I can't even blame the demon drink for that.


You Are 48% Control Freak

Generally, you are in control but not a control freak. You life is usually in order.
However, sometimes you get too obsessed with making everything in your life picture perfect.

Thanks Skippy!

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I'm away on arty pursuits with arty friends from tomorrow for a week.  Yippee!!!!!
Here's the packing list - do you think I have my priorities right?
badge machine
comb binder
Russian dolls
cheque for SJ
show & tells
bingo prize
sleeping bag
camera & charger
phone & charger
St Timmy stuff
art journal
SoulCollage book
soldering stuff
Anyhoo - see you all in about 10 days - it will take me that long to catch up with e mails etc!

Lightbulb moment

Sleep deprivation doubles risks of obesity in both children and adults

OMG - time to sleep!

It's perfectly clear now

the reason why I don't like cats!

Can you ride a bike?

Crazy Bike - Google Video

The skill, grace, balance and strength of this woman - she must have a stomach that is iron hard!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


. b u n s h i n e .

blissful wallpapers - I've got this one on at the moment after having absorbed the dressmaker one for quite a while

Great site full stop!

Dig around

SignWeb | Just Press Print

Hidden in this article are some great ideas for inkjet printing onto non standard materials - look for the section titled 'Recipes'

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Under Pressure

And all of my own making cos I just can't say no to things.  In brief, lots to do, lots to clear up and get ahead of, then I'm away for a crafty weekend with friends and a road trip to others next week while the rest of the tribe visit the in(out)laws in NI.
I had my hair cut today too - love it!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Japanese Craft books in the UK

I've seen so many beautiful items from Japanese craft books made by blogging friends in the US.  Does anyone have any idea of where I can get to even look at these books in the UK? 
my art blog:

Dirty Mind! UPDATED

It's not what you think it is - see!

Read all about it

I'm so easily amused!

So is my DH - guess who's just ordered a pack of 5 for him and his cycling buddies?! I'll report back when we get them..................

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More Swap-bot tales

I interrupt this catch up to share the fun of this morning's post. I joined a letter swap and got a wonderful one from Sofia in Sweden.

She sounds like a lovely person from what she has written and I'll be replying. She enclosed some extra goodies including the most glorious smelling herbal teabags and some photos. Here's where the funny part is - she's written on Hello Kitty paper and enclosed a photo of her cat and some other kawaii type notelets - both of which are just so not me! That's the vagaries of swap-bot though (although they are both on my profile:

'no cute/kawaii, no cats, no fundamental Christian religion please')

It's always good to be challenged though and it gave me a hearty chuckle

Blessings on you Sofia

Catching up with a sheepish grin

I got a fantastic second gift from my Artella Sprite - unfortunately I have distributed most of it into my overflowing craft room so there are no photos. I just want to acknowledge and honour MaryElizabeth for her generosity.

I also got a fabulous magic yarn ball through Swap-bot from Wren On the Run. It's hilarious - I take part in these things, have a great time making and sending my stuff, then often butterfly off to something else and clean forget that I will be receiving anything. Hence I was genuinely surprised when a box came from America. Inside, once I unwrapped it from its ribbon tied tissue, was the most scrumptious silk and wool yarn in jewel tones.
That in itself would have been excitement enough, but the nub of this swap was that there were lots of goodies wound into the ball. The idea was that as you worked with the yarn, the goodies would drop out, but I couldn't wait and had to rewind the ball to get to all the goodness inside!

And what goodies there were! My fabulous haul includes mini spiral clips, a Nick Bantock postmark stamp, samples of decorative paper, crochet thread, the weeniest set of pencil crayons I have ever seen, blue sealing wax and most exciting of all for me, a luscious silk cuff, beaded to perfection

All in all, a most satisfactory swap!


I've been neglecting my blog due to the unseasonal heat and hence I have a huge and random set of things to show and talk about. I won't claim to remember everything I want to say and there definitely won't be any order