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Poster D158

Hidden brain states as neural correlates of verbal creativity during metaphor generation

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Yuhua Yu1 (, Lindsay Krebs2, Mark Beeman1, Vicky Lai2; 1Northwestern University, 2University of Arizona

Various neural oscillations have been implicated in the brain mechanism towards creative cognition. Prior research mostly relied on trial-averaged approaches to identify neural correlates of behavioral outcomes, and they could be ambiguated by the spontaneous and compound nature of creative thinking. In this study, we applied a hidden Markov Model to identify neural oscillatory patterns, represented by brain states, that correlate with verbal creativity. Participants (N=49) engaged in a metaphor generation task while their EEG data was recorded. Hidden brain states were extracted from EEG spectral powers in a range of frequencies based on relevant literature. They were then correlated with metaphor aptness and novelty ratings, obtained from both independent judges (crowd) and participants themselves (self). An “alpha-state”, characterized by widespread alpha band synchronization, was associated with high novelty ratings both by crowd and self-evaluations. The alpha-novelty effect extends prior findings on the positive link between alpha oscillation and creative thinking. Additionally, a “desynchronization” state, characterized by below-average spectral power across frequencies but led by the alpha band frequencies in posterior regions, was associated with high self-ratings of metaphors for both novelty and aptness. The desynchronization state may be interpreted as an arousal state because alpha band desynchronization putatively indexes cortical excitation. Thus, the time profile of the desynchronization state, along with its correlation with self-ratings, revealed in the current study contributed new evidence to the neural correlates of the creative process.

Topic Area: THINKING: Other


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