Enhancing creativity by means of cognitive stimulation: evidence from an fMRI study

Neuroimage. 2010 Oct 1;52(4):1687-95. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.05.072. Epub 2010 Jun 2.


Cognitive stimulation via the exposure to ideas of other people is an effective tool in stimulating creativity in group-based creativity techniques. In this fMRI study, we investigate whether creative cognition can be enhanced through idea sharing and how performance improvements are reflected in brain activity. Thirty-one participants had to generate alternative uses of everyday objects during fMRI recording. Additionally, participants performed this task after a time period in which they had to reflect on their ideas or in which they were confronted with stimulus-related ideas of others. Cognitive stimulation was effective in improving originality, and this performance improvement was associated with activation increases in a neural network including right-hemispheric temporo-parietal, medial frontal, and posterior cingulate cortices, bilaterally. Given the involvement of these brain areas in semantic integration, memory retrieval, and attentional processes, cognitive stimulation could have resulted in a modulation of bottom-up attention enabling participants to produce more original ideas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Creativity*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Self Stimulation / physiology*