As a neuropsychologist, Professor Christine Temple is fascinated by why some people are more creative than others. Are some people born with brains that predispose them to creativity? Are there specific ways in which such people think and act? Are the roots here environmental or do their achievements lie in their DNA?
Picasso was one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century and created thousands of exceptional works of art, but what was it about his brain that led to this extraordinary capacity for sustained and diverse creativity? Could Picasso have been a creative genius because, in one person, he had enhanced development of all the elements that are important for creativity combined, and can we understand these elements?
PICASSO’S BRAIN will explore what we can understand about creativity through the prism of genius; through the work and lives of not only Picasso, but also other artists and musicians, scientists and writers, chess players and inventors. Intriguingly, Picasso was himself fascinated by what enabled him to be such a creative artist – an interest shared by those of us who lack such exceptional talents and yet would love to understand and develop the creative abilities we possess. There have been many recent studies in psychological science that add greatly to our understanding. Picasso’s brain, as this book will show, was one of the most astounding examples of the creative mind that the world has seen.
Professor Christine Temple grew up in Edinburgh and then studied Psychology at the University of St Andrews, where she started working with her first cases of unusual brain development. Winning a scholarship to the USA, she acquired a Masters degree from UCLA, where she worked with war veterans, and so-called “split brain” patients, who had been given rare surgery as a treatment for epilepsy. She then returned to Oxford for her doctorate in Neuropsychology, later establishing the Developmental Neuropsychology Unit at the University of London, working with children with dyslexia, language disorders, face recognition problems, memory difficulties, and autism, as well as children and adults with unusual talents.
She became the youngest Professor of Psychology in the UK, when she was appointed to a chair at the age of 33. Most recently, she has led the Science and Engineering faculty at the University of Essex, where she was a Pro Vice-Chancellor for six years. She has published two previous books on neuropsychology but is now particularly interested in the basis of creativity and the interface of science and the arts, having had annual exposure to the Edinburgh Festival since childhood, that fostered a passion for the visual, performance and musical arts.