'Creativity Chemical' Helps the Intelligent, Hinders the Average

'Creativity Chemical' Helps the Intelligent, Hinders the Average

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Neuroscientists have discovered a naturally occurring brain chemical that they say can make highly intelligent people more creative, but has the opposite affect on those who are merely average.

N-acetyl-aspartate is a chemical that, when found in high levels in the left parieto-occipital lobe, is associated with high levels of intelligence. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque found that when present in people with IQs higher than 120, it boosts their ability for divergent thinking, "a factor in creativity that includes coming up with novel ideas, such as new uses for everyday objects."

Those people with high levels of NAA whose IQs were below 120 however, were found to have decreased levels of divergent thinking.

While scientists aren't entirely sure how NAA affects the human mind, team lead Rex Jung describes the interplay between NAA and creativity thusly:

"People say you have to let your mind wander freely to be creative. For people of average intelligence, perhaps it's true that you need to utilize more areas of your [frontal cortex] for something truly novel and creative to emerge, but in more intelligent folks, there's something different going on."

More study into the area is definitely required before any concrete conclusions can be drawn, but Jung hopes his findings can shed some light on how the brains of the world's most famous thinkers, such as Albert Einstein, function.

"I don't think his IQ was ever tested, but it was likely around 120 -- high, but not stratospheric. I would have loved to see what his ACG looked like, as IQ alone did not get him there, in my opinion, but rather intelligence plus creativity," Jung says.

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Really!

Something that makes smart people smarter and dumb people dumber. Hmm.

Am I the only one who thought this would be about marijuana?

I need to get me some of that.

Cpt_Oblivious:
Am I the only one who thought this would be about marijuana?

No, you weren't. But on topic here: I wouldn't take this stuff. Messing with your brain? That's asking for trouble. Just watch The Lawnmower Man.

Like it not, you already have NAA in your brain. Everybody has NAA (it naturally occurs there), and the scientists weren't messing with anyone's brain in this study. They just measured the NAA that was there already, and correlated it to some questionnaire that tested divergent thinking.

Yawp. I'll file this one under "It's not what it is, it's what you do with it", since the same stuff does different thing to different people.

Having said that, there's also the possibility that, when the black market supplements hit college campuses, there will be serious bragging rights involved:

"Hah! I aced my finals after taking my hit of N-acetyl-aspartate!"
"It didn't do anything for me."
"Hah! Then your I.Q. is lower than mine!"
"Dangitall..."

Should this become an engineer-able trait, it'll be very interesting to see what happens when concentrations are increased or decreased.

I can think of an interesting evolutionary reasoning behind this: average people need to specialise to do well; divergent thinking damages their capability. Intellectuals can become "polymaths" and bind many fields of study and knowledge into one coherent whole, improving their capability. This dual-purpose chemical, when combined with whatever "intelligence factor" is at work, pushes the brain's capacity for divergent reasoning toward the divergency most suited for the individual's intelligence.

But I'm certainly no biologist and definitely not a neuroscientist (I'm a computer scientist) so take all the above with about a teaspoon of salt, merely guessing here. Perhaps I need some more (or less?) of this N-acetyl-aspartate.

I....I don't need chemicals injected into my brainstem to think creatively

And besides, everyone can be creative. Just at different levels. This is like, scientists way of saying "haha your IQ is lower than ours so you must be dumb" at least thats what this strikes me as.

Excellent. This chemical should be synthesized and freely distributed. It'll be an emporer's new clothes meets Brave New World situation. The arrogant and stupid will highlight themselves as such, the truly intelligent will raise themselves higher and the timid will form the middle class. I love it.

Lol.

Never trust an IQ test...

I've done far too many in my life, and it in no way correlates to your ability to actually be successful at anything.

The specific details of what this chemical does to different groups of people is amusing though. XD.

That is probably the only chemical people would not spill on their coach after a win for a sports game.

Although they really should make a milkshake with that in. I'd drink it. Multiple times.

I find that eating fish and refusing to view ANY FORM of porn makes you smarter.

I promise.

HyenaThePirate:
I find that eating fish and refusing to view ANY FORM of porn makes you smarter.

I promise.

I can tell you from experience that the opposite is true.

Interesting.
I've always wondered why some people were so much more creative than others.

 

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