Poster C109, Sunday, March 25, 1:00-3:00 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Everything you can imagine is real: Component processes and brain systems of imagination.
Darya Zabelina1, Jessica Andrews-Hanna2; 1University of Arkansas, 2University of Arizona
The ability to form abstract mental representations – the ability to imagine – plays an important role in a wide range of behaviors, including learning, empathy, psychopathology, and vocational training. Despite this, empirical research on imagination has historically been limited. Drawing from our previous work, this study uses neuroimaging techniques (fMRI) to examine neural basis of imagination. Participants either viewed images of faces and houses, or were asked to imagine entirely new faces and houses, not the ones they have previously seen. Results indicate that recruitment of imagination relies on the interaction between frontoparietal and default mode (DM) networks, while sustaining imagination relies on the activation in the regions of the DM network alone. Additionally we examined individual differences in the complexity of imagination, and found that people who report more complex imagination show increased activation in the frontoparietal control network regions (particularly in the pre-SMA and lateral PFC) while sustaining an imagined scene compared to people who report that their imagination is not very complex. Results are discussed in the context of existing literature on related processes, namely creative idea generation, and poetry evaluation, which are reported to similarly rely on dynamic interaction between the frontoparietal and the DM networks. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Topic Area: THINKING: Other