Neurotransmitters are chemicals your body produces to transmit signals from nerve cells to nerve cells, muscles & glands. They can be simple amino acids such as glutamate (glutamic acid) or more complex molecules such as epinephrine (adrenalin), oxytocin & somatostatin. Dopamine plays a particular important role in the brain itself.
What does Dopamine do?
It also has been found to play a role in Parkinson’s disease & schizophrenia. It was alluded to in the movie Awakenings when it was shown that its precursor, L-dopa could be used as a drug that could bring patients out of a catatonic state. The movie was based on the work of the renowned neurologist, Oliver Sachs who died in 2015.
How does creativity factor in?
Openness & frequent exposure to new & unusual experiences enable us to approach problems differently. It appears that the rewards from solving complex problems to appreciating the intrinsic beauty of works of art assist us in thinking “outside the box”.
Dopamine’s role in neural plasticity involves the desire to explore new experiences which in turn influence our ability to evolve & adapt to new environments. On the downside, it also appears to have some correlation with schizophrenia although not necessarily in the same person.
For a much more detailed review of the this topic, see the Scientific American book review on How to Cultivate your Creativity.