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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Do we mostly use only 10% of our brain? Prevalence and correlates of misconceptions on creativity and neuroscience in a culturally diverse sample.


Myths about creativity and neuroscience keep contributing to their vague public conception despite growing scientific understanding of these complex areas. This study examined the prevalence of known creativity and neuroscience myths across six culturally diverse countries and explored why some people believe in them more than others. Results revealed persistent, widespread biases in the public conception of creativity and neuroscience, such as attributing creative achievements to spontaneity and chance rather than persistence and expertise or approving the facilitating effects of learning styles. Firmer belief in creativity myths was related to lower education, stronger reliance on undependable sources, and personality traits reflecting the willingness to accept questionable notions and to rely on opinions of others. Believing in myths was also related to endorsing facts, reflecting a tendency to support scientific-sounding statements. The findings highlight the need for better communication of evidence-based knowledge.

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