Poster Session D, Monday, March 25, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Brain Activity Patterns During Creative Idea Generation In Eminent and Non-Eminent Thinkers
Evangelia G. Chrysikou1, Constanza Jacial1, David B. Yaden2, Andrew B. Newberg3; 1Drexel University, 2University of Pennsylvania, 3Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
An influential model of the neural mechanisms of creative thought suggests that creativity is manifested in the joint contributions of the Default Mode Network (DMN; a set of regions in the medial PFC, including anterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortex, lateral and medial parietal cortex, and the medial temporal lobes) and the executive networks within the dorsolateral PFC. Several empirical reports have offered support for this model by showing that complex interactions between these brain systems account for individual differences in creative performance. The present study examined whether the engagement of these regions in idea generation is modulated by experience, as measured by one’s eminence in a creativity-related field. Twenty (n = 20) healthy participants eminent in their respective fields (i.e., writing, neuroscience, music, comedy) and twenty (n = 20) age- and education-matched non-eminent but successful in their profession control participants were administered a creative generation task (an adaptation of the Alternative Uses Task) and a control perceptual task, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The participants’ verbal responses were recorded through a noise-canceling microphone and were later coded for accuracy and task compliance. Behavioral and fMRI analyses revealed commonalities between groups, but also a distinct pattern of activation in default mode and executive brain regions in the eminent relative to the non-eminent participants during creative thinking. We interpret these findings in the context of the well-documented contributions of these regions in the generation of creative ideas as modulated, in this study, by a lifetime of experience in creativity-related fields.
Topic Area: THINKING: Problem solving