tv Charlie Rose PBS July 16, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm PST
>> charlie: welcome to our program. tonight the dodd frank financial reform bill moved closer to law and we'll talk to one of the principal players, congressman barney frank. >> we ban the practices that got us into trouble in the first place. we banned the sub-prime mortgages and we banned the practice of securitization. let me tell you another one, fannie mae and freddie mac. in 2007 which is when the democrats first came to power, we did what the republicans never did and we did put legislation in place to change them and using that authority frank puts them in a conservatorship. if we had done that earlier, there would not have been as much damage. >> charlie: and we continue this evening with a look of creativity. how do you get it and what can you do with it. >> i think the important thing is that creativity is not making up things, at least in science, just in your head.
you have to know a fair amount of information about different fields that are related, different ways of thinking about problem solving. and make up your own solution, putting all those pieces together. >> actually define creativity as something that's new and original and useful. and they're actually saying that we can teach that this schools by what we often call the creative problem solving process. learning, to fact find but then still what's important. it's about diverge empt thinking and convergent thinking. thinking of many ideas and then picking which one is the best. >> the best science or some of the best public speaking or business models come out of this same sort of general aspect of creativity which is taking preexisting elements and experience and interacting with others and putting this together in new ways. >> charlie: financial reform and creativity coming up.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: the senate voted today to pass a landmark financial reform bill designed in response to the economic crises of 2008. the bill's largest piece of financial legislation since the great depetitio depression.
today vote followed months of debate. only three senators voted in support of the bill. olympia snowe, tucson collins and scott brown of massachusetts. president obama praised the legislation at a news conference this afternoon. >> even before the final crises that led to this recession, i spoke on paul street about the need for common sensory forms to protect consumers and our economy as a whole. but the crises came and underscored the need for the kind of reform the senate passed today. the form that will retech consumers when they take out a mortgage or sign up for a credit card, reform that will prevent the kind of shadowy deals that led to this crises. reform that would never again put taxpayers on the hook for paul street'wall street's mista. this will accomplish these goals. >> charlie: joining me is barney frank, a congressman from
massachusetts. he's chairman of the house financial services committee. i am pleased to have him here on this program on this day. the bill by the way is called the dodd frank bill. in a very long and distinguished political career, where do you put this? >> oh, among the top positive achievements. the i say that because one of my, i think most important defensive achievements was helping block the he was to drive bill clinton out of office. but in terms over a firmive thing, this is the single most important thing i've been able to work on. >> charlie: characterize it for me. what are your hopes for it. >> that it will allow us as we have done in two previous occasions in american economic history, to get the benefits of innovation and of creativity in the private sector without suffering from the abuses that come. what happens in our society is from time to time, innovation in
the private sector which is ongoing hits critical mass. it happened in the late 19th century when the large enterprises came up and woodrow wilson had to respond and then it happened in the 30's with the stock market, if. dr had to respond. and it happened in the 90's and first outer pat 19th century when innovation and new sources with the computerization which makes money, the fastest thing on earth rafflel rivally light. it's damaging. the private sector sets up a society rules that allows you to maximize the benefits of these innovations and minimize the damage that comes from lack of rules. >> charlie: do you believe that if this bill was in effect in 2005, we would not have had the economic crises because regulators and enforcers would have seen it coming and been able to do more? >> absolutely. even if we hadn't seen it coming, it wouldn't have come for a come reasons. first of all we have in this
bill very tough rules that prevent the kind of mortgages going to he people who can't afford them. these abusive sub-prime mortgages. we also, this practice that grew up over the past 30 years are people making loans and not being the one who was repaid but selling the entire loan called securitization. the discipline of a borrower having to face a lender who expected to be repaid eroded so we put in there some requirement that if you make loans, you've got to, if there's going to be losses you'll take the first 5 or 10% of the losses. finally we have in there rules that say if you do get to a point where a large financial institution is overburdened, we can put it to death in a reasonable way. i quote here george bush u's mot effective secretary of treasury henry paulson said in an interview in these tools were in e effect early enough we would not have had the crises we had. >> charlie: what he in effect said as you know in his column,
if that's the same interview you're talking about. >> yes. >> charlie: he basically said if he had the resolution authority perhaps it would not have been, it would have been able to have different result with lehman brothers and therefore perhaps. >> and naig. i would disagree. it was stronger than that. he started out saying he wasn't going to speculate. he said if we had them earlier enough he could have stopped them. in addition to the resolution authority, we're really changing it to the dissolution authority. sarah palin was right. we have death penalties in our legislation but it's not for sick old women, sick old financial institutions we put them to death in a way we couldn't do in an orderly fashion. even more important, we banned the practices that got us into trouble in the first place. we banned the sub-prime mortgages and we banned the practice of securitization. and let me throw in one another, fannie mae and freddie mac. it was a late to reform them but in 2007 which is when the democrats first came to power, we did what the republicans never did. and we did put legislation in
place to change theme. and using that hort han authorik paulson put them into a conservatorship. if we had done that earlier there would not have been as much damage. >> charlie: i think simon johnson is from your neck of the woods and he's arguing that essentially nothing in the entire legislation will reduce the potential from massive system risk as we head into the next credit. >> i understand. i know. you found one of the few people that says that, the overwhelming consensus on the other side, paul volkes this bill for generations will do a great deal of good and was very supportive of it. the tough regulators like sheila bear and others have said this. what simon johnson said we have to break up the bank. he ignores a couple things in this. again, we ban, this was driven by mortgages being given outside the banking system on the whole. by non non-banks, some banks wee
abusive. we make that illegal. that's enough to the discretion of the regulators. there will be no more of this inappropriate effort to push people into homes they couldn't afford. we severely, we say you can't make all these loans and then sell the whole loan. we also say that there i don't know crises. let me tell you, you look at aig which was a precipitating crises for this. we banned what aig did in a number of ways. i think mr. johnson if he really that said i'm disappointed. yes he wanted us to break up all the bank. i agree with paul volker and others to break up every institution right now at an economy that's still just recovering, to force massive fire sales all at once could have been destabilizing. instead we substitute up to bad practice. aig no longer will anybody be able to do what aig did, namely indebt themselves through these derivatives without any limit. we make that impossible. we make it illegal. >> charlie: are there things that the chair of the financial services committee wish were in this bill that are not in it? >> yes.
not a whole lot. i would not have exempted the automobile dealers. by the way this has the biggest package of consumer protection ever adopted in american history. elizabeth warren who has become the premier advocate of the consumer federation of america, all the others that deals with consumers. we set up an independent consumer agency. the federal reserve has no power over it. we've taken from the bank regulators all of the power to regulate credit cards, overdrafts, payday lenders and put them in a genuinely independent agency. automobile dealers we couldn't get as much as we wanted there but we got all the other parts of it and it is as i said very strong. we have in here, for example, a fiduciary responsibility for the first time on dealers who sell products to individuals. we have a fairly set of reforms of the rating agency. all of these things are in there but i would have liked to see
the automobile dealers fully covered. >> charlie: is that simply a product of effective lobbying? >> yes, by automobile dealers by the way. not big money. automobile dealers are popular people. their political culture, they're salespeople. they are out there. everybody has automobile dealers in his or her district and they are friendly people, and there was this myth that big money would win. in fact community banks have put out a rule, a statement saying we did much better than the big banks because big mean has an influence in evacuating. when public opinion gets engaged as it became on this bill then we got tough consumables and tough rules restricting derivatives and tough rules banning sub-prime mortgages. what automobile dealers had was their own network of thousands of people all over the country in people's districts who lobbied very hard. there's one other fact of automobile dealers. they had a lot of sympathy when we were voting on this because they were unfairly treated by general motors and chrysler in that consolidation and that gave them some momentum. >> charlie: what are the consequences for the rating
agencies in this financial reform. >> first of all a lot less business to be honest. one of the things in the law that were mistakes were requirements that you couldn't buy a certain thing if you were a pension fund, you couldn't sell a certain security unless you got a certain high rating. we had people putting much too much attention, much too much emphasis on the rating agency. we repealed all the rules that say you've got to rely on the rating agencies which means we want people to do their own due diligence. we also have said for the first time if you bought a security with a certain high rating, you can now sue the rating agency because that rating was too high. previously until this, until the president signs this bill, the only people through the rating agency effectively are the people whose paper was rated. so you only get them sooner as if they were rated high enough. if you weren't the one who paid the rating agency but you bought this paper, you can through the rating agency. we changed this.
>> does this bill do everything it should have done. >> yes. in fact, the howks wer republice complaining it went too far in the last motion they were able to offer before the house, they wanted to cut back on derivative regulation. first of all every derivative transaction will have to be reported to a regulator. that alone would have stopped the aig problem. they were able to issue unlimited amount, not only did the didn't the regular later know how much they had, they didn't know how much they had. they went way over their head. now every transaction will have to be reported. if financial institutions are doing this as opposed to an airline or a manufacturer that is hedging for a legitimate commercial purpose, you have toa clearing house. the derivatives will be heavily regulated in an appropriate way to the extent that a total lack of regulation derivative causing the problem, i believe we have made that much to happen again. >> charlie: you got all the transparency you need.
>> yes. i'll give you an example. a couple guys from one insurance company came to see me a younger guy and older guy and they said we don't like what you're doing with derivatives. the younger guy said -- i said why. well if you have to report these transactions people will know the price we're charging and other people can come in ahead of os. i said translate for me, does that mean other people will be able to come in and offer a lower price for the transaction. he said yes which at point he said we don't really want to make that argument. i got validation what we're doing there will infact ultimately lead to lower prices with derivative because it won't be the secretive, nobody knows what i'm charging operations. >> charlie: is it fair to say that the big banks, the markets, you know, the big city banks like citi, j.p. morgan, wells fargo, the thing they were scared off the most was derivatives and what you might do with derivatives? >> no. i don't think so. there were, i think -- by the way, on derivatives, senator
link amendment was adopted so they have to stop doing that. of them seemed to be most afraid frankly of the consumer protection bureau that's why they put their guns. because they make less money off lending these days, unfortunately. and more, many of them from credit card fees, not just the interest but the overcharge, the overdraft charges. what you have in the consumer protection bureau is a severe restriction on their ability to make money outside of loans. and that was the operation in which they put most of their negative effort. and they lost. we got, in fact elizabeth warren again a great consumer advocate said the committee that i chair passed the consumer bill and told me not even to try because the banks always win but they didn't win today. >> charlie: why were they so insent tinsistent to be inside e federal reserve and not independent. >> because the federal reserve is not being a very effective
regulator. the consumer regulation powers are with the bank regulations and the consumer regulation for the bank regulators is an afterthought. i want it totally independent. what we have in fact is total independence. the bureau is housed physically at the federal reserve but no federal reserve towers can be exercised. what it is is a way to get some of the revenue that the federal reserve had been getting for consumer protection and not using very well. and putting them into there. the way i put it is that the mailing awe stress for the consumer bureau will be the federal reserve. no one at the federal reserve can open any of that mail. it's a fully independent consumer agency and there was no power on any federal reserve, in fact the federal reserve at this point was frankly annoyed saying we can't do anything about it. and that's the problem on our part. >> charlie: freddy mac and fannie mae. >> yes. as i said the republicans when they controlled congress for 12 years did nothing about fannie mae and freddie mac. they fought among themselves, passed no legislation. i originally thought we didn't
need to. in 2004 when george bush ordered them to increase the number of mortgages to over 50% that they bought from lower income people, i objected. i said that was bad for them and bad for the buyers of the mortgageses. what we did when we became empowered, 2007, first of all we passed legislation to ban those bad mortgages. it went through the house, didn't go through the senate but the federal reserve adopted it after we did. secondly, we did give the secretary of treasury the authority he has been looking for that the republican congress wouldn't give george bush, we give it to hank paulson. he used it in 2008 to put fannie mae and freddie mac into conserve shy. as they have existed for the last two years are nothing like what got us into trouble. they are being run by the federal government in a very much more restrained fashion. now the next step is to awe ball issue them altogether but you can't abolish them responsiblably until you figure out what stoaft arrangements some purely republican and purely private arrangements take them. we are working with the
realtors, the home builders, low income housing advocates, bankers to figure out what is the next step. but again i want to stress the first parts of this financial system to be drastically reformed for fannie mae and freddie mac because hank paulson has the document in his book used the powers we gave him, the democratic congress to put them in a conserveship. the way they're waiting now is nothing the way they were operating when they got into trouble. >> charlie: hank paulson continues to say he does not have the power to avoid a lehman brothers bankruptcy. >> he didn't at the time. he would now. >> charlie: that's right. he makes that point. so you agree with him that he didn't have the power to avoid a lehman brothers bankruptcy. >> he did have the power which we gave him in our bill to put fannie mae and freddie mac into conserve tership and he did that and that was helpful. >helpful. >> charlie: did he have the power that time. >> no. he had the power, what lehman brothers was able to do was go
bankrupt without any protection of what the impact would be. that was by the way the republican bill. they objected to what paulson wanted to do. they said let them just go bankrupt. what he had was a choice with lehman brothers and aig. with lehman brothers he had to them -- here's the choice. either he could pay none of the debts and deal with it in no way or pay all the debts. so they paid none of the debts of the of lehman brothers and there was a terrible crises and then they paid the debts of aig and that didn't work. this is the power that we give the regulators over non-banks that the federal government has over banks. it's a way to dissolve the institution in an orderly fashion. to put it to bed, get rid of it so there will be no more aig's hanging on but in a way that allows you to say well we're not going to simply allow them to go bankrupt. that is something that hank paulson did not have and that power somebody would have facing that in the future. >> in the end, do you think history will be kind to bernanke?
>> no, i think much kinder than alan greenspan. i think alan greenspan is the culpable one because we gave him the power to run subcrime mortgages and he wouldn't do it. bernanke yes has done much better job than for instance greenspan did in the regulation of sub-prime mortgages and other kinds of regulations. i will say this, once of the crises hit i give ben bernanke a lot of credit. in fact, few people would have predicted in september of 2008 that we would have escaped with as little damage. now there has been terrible damage. it's been great pain to unemployment. i regret my republican colleagues unwillingness to let us deal with that. but there was a systemic collapse and bernanke played a major role in that. >> charlie: what has barney frank who has been in the center on the storm learned? >> i know now more clearly that you have to look at innovation as having both a good and a bad side.
there was a tendency, and i had some resistance. in 2006, i filed a bill to require to register with the scc. i was told that's too much regulation. i backed off. i think i was too willing to listen to people who said don't regulate. i know with regard ton't fannie mae and ready mac in 2003 because i thought they were doing a good job in rental housing i didn't want to restrain them. once they went into at george bush's insistence, excess i home mortgage loans for people i changed my position. so i learned that you've got to be ready with regulation and you should do it earlier rather than later. >> charlie: and the whitehouse role in all this? >> very instructive, the whitehouse and treasury. we work very well together but i would say that began with me working with secretary paulson in 2008 that we shared
ideologies in general. but from the standpoint of this bill, our cooperation with the lighthouse and the treasury department and other agencies, the fdic and shapiro of the sec has been very constructive and i am very pleased with the relationship we had. the other thing i learned, i thought i knew it but i've been able to tell others. public opinion is powerful. we got a better bill this year than i had out of the committee last year because last year frankie was spepgd all the time -- spending all the time in healthcare and there was no focus on this bill from the general public. the big interests won more of the fights than i wanted them to. this year with healthcare having been done, all of this happened in the public arena and we got a stronger bill at every point, a stronger bill in the senate, so it does reinforce my view if we can get public opinion focused, it will overcome the power of big money.
secondly, i had what a lot of people told me was a crazy idea, a big open constant. we sat there for seven days in full view of the public with the tv cameras rolling. we had amendments and we had hesitations and we had debates and we made some mistakes and we went forward. i think we've vindicated frankiely the open democratic process. there were no back room deals. there were conversations but everything that was done was ultimately fully debated and subject to amendment and ratified in the public. and i take a lot of pride in that. i think it was important for the public to see that happening. >> charlie: do you believe the economic recovery we're in now is spreading throughout the country that those smaller banks that you have mentioned that felt the brunt of this, that they are lending money again and that they are -- >> no, not enough. it's not entirely their fault. in fact, we put a bill through the house and hope the senate will do it soon to have the federal government buy $30 billion of preferred stock in small banks, banks of 10 billion
and less in assets. if they will increase their lending to small businesses and we can measure that and we will increase the dividend they have to pay us if they don't do that lending. part of it is some of the regulators are still too tough. the tough regulators are encouraging people to lend. but people have been traumatized by being criticized for loans that shouldn't have been given so we're still working on that. as to the recovery it was doing well. unemployment was beginning to drop. we started to get hundreds of thousands of new jobs and then the crises and there's no question now when you look back in the last couple months if you look back to what happened in unemployment we're gaining private sector jobs but not innerly as we had been in april and may or march and april. the crises first greece and elsewhere has close the oust down. i think some of them are rooting for failure not to go forward with unemployment compensation, not to give money to the states so they don't add to unemployment.
yes, we have long term deficit problem but we have to begin to work on this year. but to choke off the counter cyclical measure and aiding the states to keep people working that and the commonwealth in europe has slowed down the recovery. the sad thing is some of my republican colleagues have to be honest don't mind that because they think they'll benefit from it in the congressional election. >> charlie: because the economy will be worse. >> yes. >> charlie: do you believe that this is a winning argument, the financial reform, the dodd frankie bilfrank bill, the passd frank bill whether republican or democrat if they voted for this bill it will resonate with the public. >> yes. obviously unemployment drowns it out somewhat. here's my evidence. firsfirstfirst of all this is tt package. people are unhappy with the
credit cards and payday and etcetera. secondly hears my evidence for it. when the bill was up for a final vote in the house my republican cheag did not do what the minority does, ask for a roll call vote. the speakers said the ayes have it. they didn't ask for a roll call vote, i did. it was clear to me they didn't want to vote for it. some of members said you know this is kind of popular with the people, it's unpopular with some of the financial people i don't want to have to vote on it. so i believe from the way this debate has gone and the bay they've reacted -- way they've reacted, yes this is on balance a popular thing to have done. >> charlie: what do you think to be determinative of whether democrats maintain control of the house? >> well i think we're going to maintain control because people are working. the degree to which we lose seats will be influenced more by the unemployment numbers and also by the stock market. that's why i said i was feeling very good about the political situation although mostly about
the economic situation a couple months ago. you got half a million jobs created in two months that really turned things around. then as i said the greek situation came up and now you have the republicans deliberately trying to slow things down. i think the unemployment rate and the general economic attitudes will have, as they should have, a significant impact on the elections. >> charlie: is debt a big issue, the federal, the fiscal debt. >> yes, it is. there is this concern bit, especially after what people saw happening elsewhere. what the appropriate response is, is to say in the next couple months, we need to do things that will help us defeat unemployment but yes we need to deal with that and now it can save with ron paul. ron and i have frankly often gotten together because we are both willing from time to time to go outside of what the conventional wisdom is and we are insisting that significant cuts in american military
spending because it has to be part of the long term debt plan. the cold war is over, wer still subsidizing europe's defense and japan's defense. three sets of weapons to destroy the soviet union, we are way overcommitted in our sense of mission in the military area. aside by the way, i'm told that in the administration's budget, they want $40 million to stay in iraq from next month until the 2011. $40 billion is a lot to spend on crossing guards. so i believe time has come for us to say that the military has to participate. they have to be sending constraints. there has to be tax increases on incomes about 400,000. unless we had military reductions here so we are protecting our security and not being the world's policemen, we can't reach where we have to. >> charlie: bob gates talked about reducing the budget and looking more hard at cost analysis. but you're saying he's got to
look hard at commitments we have today. >> that's very important distinction charlie and i appreciate you making it. you have to do both. you have to do what we are doing more efficiently but we don't need to do as much. we have 15,000 marines on okinawa. most people thought the marines left okinawa when john wayne died. i don't know why we have 15,000 marines in okinawa, we don't need them there. "the new york times" had an interesting article a month ago about how the europeans have benefited from the fact that we are their military shelter. so they have military budgets. we're not talking about poor countries now. the netherlands, denmark, germany, they have military budgets as a percentage of their economies are worth. i don't know what they're worried about. if i were they, i wouldn't feel frightened. so they get row techive america, fine. it's time to scale back on military reach. that's the attitude this notion of being the world's policemen is the reason we went into iraq. there weren't weapons of mass
destruction there. sadaam hussein is a terrible. so are other guys. we don't have the ability to go and throw out bad presidents. >> charlie: one last question before you go. the president's rate, and the judgment about his leadership and this assumption by some that he wants to, he's too much interested in a huge intervention of government into the private sector. that he scares people. >> well, i think that substantivity wrong. i don't find many people objecting to we're going to have government intervention against credit card abusers or against aig. we got into this because there was too little intervention in aig. it is true the republicans were somewhat successful but i was talking to older people in my district who are like me on medicare and i'm saying this bill's been in effect two
months. nothing's affected on medicare and it hasn't been heard. so yes there has been some frightening misstatements i think as people understand how wrong they were, it doesn't happen. and in some areas, i don't think people object to the government doing something about the environment. we're a private sector sewed encouraging wealth but i don't know how you can deal with environment without this. and let's look at bp. do you know anybody who said do you know what the problem with the oil spill there was too much government. i think everybody agreed there was too little government regulating it beforehand and pushing them now and make them pay for what they damaged. >> charlie: it's always great to hear from you. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> charlie: chairman barney frank. >> charlie: what is creativity, how do you define it, where does it come from, request it be taught? is there a science to it? these are just some of the questions explored in the cover story in newsweek magazine last week. it was called creativity in
america, the science of innovation and how to reignite our imaginations. there's a resent ibm poll of 1500ceo's they identified creativity as the number one leadership competency of the future. for years commissioner wisdom has held that america's creative age would ensure it's global primacy. but maybe not. a to study indicates that creativity scores among both children and adults have consistently inched downward for the last 20 years. to consider all this now joining me from los angeles, ashley merryman, she's coauthored of the story and written extensively about child development. also from boston aaron berkowitz of harvard studies creativity and musical awe cheaflts. bruce alberts is a well-known bio chemists and former two term president of the national academy of sciences. i am pleased to have them here to talk about this important subject. let me begin with you brewing
alberts. what is creativity. >> it's an important part of science and i actually thought about this a lot in terms of a scientist. you can't be creative without knowing things. and really creativity comes in science by taking different fields of knowledge, different approaches to problems and combining them in new unexpected ways. this is the way science advances and why we can't predict the future of science. but i think the important thing is that creativity is not making up things, using science, just in your head, you have to know a fair amount of information about different fields that are related, different ways of thinking about problem solving. examine then make up your own solution -- and then make up your own solution putting those pieces together. >> charlie: can it be learned? >> it can be learned by experience.
it can't be learned by telling people how to be creative. i think, and this is very important point for education. rote learning which is far too much in our schools today, in my opinion, is not a way to become a creative person. >> charlie: what about ashley, the experience you had in looking where china is going on the last point and where the united states is going in terms of its educational process >> well a scientist actually defined creativity as something that's new and original and useful. and they're actual me saying that we can teach that in schools by what we often call creative, the creative problem solving process. learning to fact find but then to distill what's important. it's about divergent thinking and convergent thinking, it's about picking ideas and which one is the best. the researcher at indiana
university went to beijing and shanghai and all the faculty there were saying what's the american trend in education. and he said well we're moving towards the standardized curriculum, more consistency across not just states but everyone and memorizing and really putting this on facts. once he finished these comments, they were translated into chinese, everyone in the room started laughing. and they told him you're moving to our method of teaching but we're actually moving to yours as fast as we can. and they're actually around chinese country, not the entire part of china, it's obviously a huge country and there's a layout of different motions going on but the mood is to use problem-based learning where you teach children through an experiment, through an example premises rather than just give them isolated facts and have them not know what to do with those facts. >> charlie: what prompted this story. >> well actually i heard plucker
give a conference a couple years ago and give lectures and i was like really, there is a science of creativity. i didn't even know that at the time. but it was actually found that there really is. there's strong methodology, there are tests that have been used to measure people's creativity since 1958, one of the most famous of those, we wrote about in the article was developed by paul torance and he has found that creative achievement can be predicted by these early creativity tasks. it's lifetime creative achievements. three times more effectively than if you gave a kid an iq test at that same eight or nine years old. and we thought that was incredible so we had to know more and that became the catalyst for the piece. >> charlie: so aaron, in terms of music how do you define creativity? >> well, i would echo some of the thing that both bruce and ashley said. musicians, when they're im preprovising for example is looking for something new and
original but the idea of it being useful and bruce said not coming without having a prior knowledge, this music just sounds in an idiom or a style for example for us to hear jazz music sounding like jazz, means that it's combining some preexisting element, harmonies, rhythm, elements of the style. and for musicians to learn how to improvise or compose are first sort of spending a lot of time experiencing music, playing with other musicians. and over time, developing sort of their own voils voice, theirf combining these things as bruce spoke about, combining different fields. it's also by experience and it's also by some combination of divergent thinking, looking at elements and new ways of combining them and then convergent thinking, picking those sort of best elements or the most exciting or more interesting for that musician and putting them into play. >> charlie: we think of creativity in terms of artists like musicians. but is that necessarily true that there's more creativity in
artistic people than there are in matt ma cision mathematicians or other fields. >> i think creativity can go across these different domains. so certainly as you said many people think of creativity in the arts but certainly some of the best science or some of the best public speaking or business models come out of this same sort of general aspect of creativity. that is taking preexisting elements in one's experience and interacting with others and putting this together in new ways. >> there was actually a test, if i can jump in, that the -- they took actually musicians and engineering majors and they put them in a machine and they actually found that there really wasn't a difference in terms of the creative process, in terms of how their brains were functioning when they were divergently thinking, when then convergently thinking. they were the same standard deviations, the same high averages. people who are creative, it doesn't mean that a person who is an engineer can be an artist,
but the process of bringing those new things together is actually the same. and there habi have been the sa. others studies show it's pretty consistent across the domain using rierts, musicians, architects, that the creative process is largely the same, you actually tend to see with artists they may sort of embrace the sort of artist stereotype, black dress, acting a little depressed and kind of live up to an idea of what an artist is supposed to be. but the creative process doesn't really think to matter what domain they're in. >> charlie: bruce, among children, is creativity on the the increase or is it on the decline because there's so many more stimuli especially video games? >> well it depend on how they use these resources. i think we really know what we have to do in science education in school but we're not doing it. to get to ashley point when the
national academy of science is published the national academy standards in 1996, they were immediately translated into chinese. my friends in china have many contacts there, are trying to introduce the kind of inquiry based education that the standards are used for. and no child left behind testing has just driven the united states in many many cases back to the kind of rote learning that is so unfortunate in which china and other countries are trying to get rid of. so i think we have a great opportunity today. we know what to do, we need a major investment in teacher preparation because you can't teach hands on queer-based science education unless you actually experiences it yourselfment unfortunately one of my main messages for college professions we teach college science in a way that doesn't give people the correct feeling
for what science education should be. we tend to cover all of imawlg in one year, for example, in first year college biology. students leave without any sense over how to solve a problem, how to really define the difference between science is a way of knowing and other ways of knowing about the world. so it's a big challenge at all levels, i think and american education is to reinvent what we think education is. >> charlie: what about video games? >> well, there are video games that i think could be useful but there are many video games that are not useful. we had an interesting article in every year i try in having a special issue in science magazine on education. science of education and last year's special issue had a very nice article analyzing what's the video games and other modern communications have done to the way kids think. in some ways it made them more creative in some ways and other
ways, they're missing aspects. fundamental, they call them lessons, we need a mixture of different kinds of experience for kids to make them able to be productive and creative citizens. and the emphasis in science class starting with kindergartennen should be on solving problems to the appropriate level. then the kids struggle with trying to solve some question before the teacher tells them the answer. right now we have science education defined in many places from all the way through college is that the teacher telling people what they should think about something and basically a passive form of learning. >> there is some evidence college at william and mary researcher in this past may analyze over 300 of the test scores i mentioned before, creativity scores on the torence
test and found there was traditionally an incline similar to the increase in iq. that was going on until 1990. but in 1990 actually started seeing a decline in creativity scores. now we don't exactly know what the answers to that are. it could be obviously increase in television, increase in video games. for every hour that a kid watches television, there's a 10% drop in terms of what creativity activities he does. so that can be anything from role playing and fantasy play to actuaart classes. we see a drop. we don't know if that's an example of drop in scores or not. bruce is saying is exactly right. that's probably the way he we need to go. what i think is most exciting and the problem right now, there's a lot of educators who are talking about experiential learning.
but it seems fairly capricious, right, that you left upon some kind of an animal in the pond and that's the animal that you learned about. that the next kid goes to that bond sees a different animal so then what. we lose the progress we've had in terms of what are consistent standards we need. the national school of -- in akron ohio has actually said this is the wrong approach. what they do is they start with the akron and the ye ohio state standard curriculum and they say these are the things the fifth graders need to learn. then they develop a problem that will incorporate all of that information. so the sixth graders were supposed to learn about wetlands, conservation, they were supposed to learn about data collection and how to calculate fractions. and they were also supposed to learn how to sketch and make a 3-did diorama. the fifth graders got a letter from the university of akron saying can you help me with a
wetlands project i'm doing. the kids spent six weeks learning about the wetlands all from the orientation we need to save the wetlands but in the meantime we're getting all the required curriculum. it's really important to understand that learning in a creative idea doesn't mean sacrificing facts, it doesn't mean losing mastery of the material. it's about how the material is presented and then what the kids do with it afterwards. >> charlie: aaron, in terms of i don't remember book improvising mind, what do you think is the most important thing you understood about the correlation between great musical achievement and the capacity to be creative? >> well, there's some interesting work by godfray log and he shows musicians tend to have more fibers in the corpus
callosum and that houses the two parts of the brain. some people wonder are musicians born with more fibers in this track that cause them to excel at music and like it more and stick with it or is this a change in the brain that comes from musical training. and he's continued to study this phenomenon by looking at groups of children who received musical training versus those that haven't. over time what they're showing is that these changes in the brain are actually occurring as a result of the musical training and these changes are being born out in higher scores and various types of cognitive telling either related to music or other types of non-musical processes. in my own research with daniel at the university of western ontario we looked at improv cision as sort of a window into the creative process looking at musicians and comparing them to non-musicians also improvising very simply on a five key key word and finding we came up with is very interesting. what happened is the musicians were actually one area of the
brain they were actually deactivating that area where as theman musicians were not involving that area at all. what we think that night mean is this is an area involved in sort of exploratory thinking sort of looking around being very open. but when the brain needs to concentrate on a specific task, this area sort of shut down or deactivated by other regions. so it looks like the musicians and non-musicians differed only in this experience and the ability to increase or focus the concentration or attention on the task at hand. what it looks to show in conjunction with this other work i just described is that musical training and probably other types of creative training as bruce described other ways of knowing through music thinking about science or thinking about wetlands conservation, thinking in these other modalities seems to change the brain and can be applied in other context. >> charlie: is creativity located in a pick place in the
brain. >> no. creativity we think is probably involves many different areas and many many different networks of the brain. some of those may be domain specific. if someone's being specific in a creative domain versus a visual domain or analytical reasoning, those may involve specific networks of area because there are areas specific of involved in like our study in just attention. or areas that are involved in abstract reasoning that are going to be involved in any kind of creative task. >> where is the cutting edge of science now, bruce? >> cutting edge of science is many different places but working with claj students at ucsf where i've been teaching for many years what i tell them is go to the seminars you know nothing about. students tend to keep their heads down and go to, experience things they've already been
pretty well acquainted with. and basically i thin what we know about scientific creativity comes from combining the most creative people combine ideas have come from fields that are fairly far apart. so really, part of education of a little scientist is to learn about different ways of exploring the world, different kinds of ways that people have solved different problems. by analogy, have all that in your head somehow. when you have your problem, trying to pick a way of thinking from a different field or a tool from a different field. and of course being creative means doing something that nobody has ever done before. and this is the way you do something that's new because nobody ever thought of combining those things in that way before. science is exploding at an incredibly ever increasing rate and i think we can explain that because the more we know, the more pieces of knowledge there are to combine. and so this helps explain why
science is ever accelerating and the obvious way to think of that is one of the thing that science does is it allows to create new tools to explore the world more powerfully. new ways to sequence dna. of course dna sequencing is one millionth what it was ten years ago. so these kind of tools coming from science represent the kind of way in which we can now explore the world more powerfully. but more broadly than that, we have new ways of thinking from my analogy with using pieces of knowledge from other ways of thinking. we have huge challenges. i mean understanding the human brain is going to take us hundreds of years. it's a wonderful field for people to get in and many other areas of science that have great opportunities for creative people. >> charlie: ashley, this is a quote that i saw. in childhood development, in the space between anxiety and boredom is where creativity
flourished. >> right. well that came from -- who is at the university of northern iowa. they were looking at family structures of highly creative masters in their field. people like oscar peterson and other leading invernts. these people embodied opposite. they were parents that let their kids be autonomous and grow up and do things on their own and weren't micromanaging the family. at the same time they were demanding that the kids practice and have been schedules and demand so they actually develop the skills that were really concrete. by doing that, and being sort of accepting but also encouraging and pushing, that gave kids security to know when something was unfamiliar, when it was chaotic, sort of the relied on those standards, they relied on that structure.
but when the structure was familiar and they were bored, that gave them the security then to do something entirely different and new and take risks because they knew that there was a comfort and a support level behind them in those risks. and now it's enormously important in terms of developing creativity. our researcher who studied jewel julliard students and the students known who won the westinghouse awards, they tracked them for about 15 years and found a sort of similar pattern which was the main predictor of did they stick with science or are they now our leading scientist. what the main thing that made that happen was whether or not they had me mentors, people who could actually explain to them this is the important thing to worry about, this is bureaucracy, with a don't need to worry bit. this is a new science area that no one's looked in, can you go there and give people a lead and a suggestion but once they view that, then really let them go to
town so to speak. >> charlie: aaron, what question would you most like to know to be answered about creativity? >> well of course i think what we're all sort of saying here is how important creativity is for solving press beesolving pressi. so whether it's wetlands conservation or one of the cutting ends of science as bruce said is discovering how the brain worked. so i think if we can develop ways of studying more particularly how creativity works in the brain, how it's developed, how we can encourage it, how we can nurture it and how we can develop ways from an early age having children picking creatively so as they grow up they can contribute to bringing these different fields of knowledge together inventing new tools to solve pressing problems. >> charlie: there's not one particular question that you ponder most of all about creativity especially within a musical context? >> well we were sort of using the musical context as a way to study the question of creativity
more broadly because we can design a very specific musical task to look at some of these broader questions. and the active improv cision, convergent and divergent is has noting on the fly in both the auditory domain or motor or sort of music include domain. we were using that to sort of get at one of these broader questions. what parts of the brain are 1r06ded. when people trained and people not trained, what parts of the brain are involved and going forward how can we train those regions of the brain, train those networks of the brain through education, to allow for people to be more creative and be able to solve pressing problems in the future. >> charlie: thank you all very much. it's a pleasure to have you on the program. it's a fascinating subject and something that i have lots of questions about it. what comes out of this actually in an interesting way is that the more you focus in terms of finding things and the more application there is, the more creativity there is. so thank you very much.