Health & Science

University Of Houston Study Examines Relationship Between The Brain And Creativity

The goal is to understand what goes on inside our heads when doing something creative.

Inside the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, students are busy gluing 64 wired electrodes to caps resembling the kind used for swimming. Wearing them are three Houston artists: Dario Robleto, Jo Ann Fleischhauer, and Lily Cox-Richard.

Once their caps are activated, they’ll work on art in front of an audience. On the opposite side of the room, a screen on the wall shows each of their brain activity in blots of blue and yellow.

 It’s part of a study by engineering professor Jose “Pepe” Contreras Vidal. He’s tracking neural activity of people while they engage in creative activities.

“We hope to inform clinical neuroscience about how best to use art to treat neurological and mental disorders,” Contreras-Vidal says.

Fleischhauer will also be taking part in an 18-month study with Vidal, where she’ll wear a device while working on a commissioned piece.

“And what I’m hoping, that in the long-term process, is that it’s going to be a different kind of an experience by me working in my more normal situation and over a long term,” Fleischhauer says.

Vidal says they hope to start publishing the results by the end of the year.


Amy Bishop

Amy Bishop

Arts and Culture Reporter

As Houston Public Media Arts and Culture reporter, Amy Bishop spotlights Houston’s dynamic creative community. Her stories have brought national exposure to the local arts scene through NPR programs such as Here and Now. Her radio career began in 1999 in the Dallas/Fort Worth market. Prior to her current position,...

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