The Quantified Writer

Monitoring the physiology of the creative process

`What is it, exactly, that I am doing when I am writing.’ - Arnon Grunberg
Most people would agree that creativity is what makes us unique in the animal kingdom. It is therefore all the more interesting that we understand little of the processes that drive creativity in the artist, or the processes in people experiencing art. Are they the same or at least similar? Or do the production and the appreciation of art rely on different mechanisms?

Dutch author Arnon Grunberg and his publishing house, Nijgh & Van Ditmar, initiated the formation of a top class research team that will investigate the physiological processes governing the production and perception of art in a unique collaboration between scientists, an artist and the public.
The team plans to take detailed measurements of the brain activity and the physical signals recorded from the author as he writes his new novel. This will take place in New York, where Grunberg lives, starting November 19th and lasting two weeks. The next phase, in the fall of 2014, will be to study members of public (n=~50) reading the new novel in a controlled situation. On top of this, and using a limited set of parameters, the team will study brain activation in several thousand readers.


NIN-KNAW and VUmc (Scientific expertise, research questions, dissemination of results in scientific literature)
TNO (Scientific expertise, scientific management, knowledge transfer)
TMS International BV (ambulatory high-density EEG/ECG/GSR recording devices)
Noldus Information Technology BV (video capture, video analysis, software development)
Eagle Science BV (software development, information automation and integration)
i3B Foundation (ICT for Brain, Body and Behavior)
Nijgh & van Ditmar (Publishing house, contact with the writer)
Verstegen en Stigter (Initiation and production of projects in the field of art, science & education; dissemination of knowledge.)
Brain by _DJ_ via Creative Commons