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, 8 (4), 475-80

Exploring the Neural Correlates of Visual Creativity


Exploring the Neural Correlates of Visual Creativity

Lisa Aziz-Zadeh et al. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci.


Although creativity has been called the most important of all human resources, its neural basis is still unclear. In the current study, we used fMRI to measure neural activity in participants solving a visuospatial creativity problem that involves divergent thinking and has been considered a canonical right hemisphere task. As hypothesized, both the visual creativity task and the control task as compared to rest activated a variety of areas including the posterior parietal cortex bilaterally and motor regions, which are known to be involved in visuospatial rotation of objects. However, directly comparing the two tasks indicated that the creative task more strongly activated left hemisphere regions including the posterior parietal cortex, the premotor cortex, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the medial PFC. These results demonstrate that even in a task that is specialized to the right hemisphere, robust parallel activity in the left hemisphere supports creative processing. Furthermore, the results support the notion that higher motor planning may be a general component of creative improvisation and that such goal-directed planning of novel solutions may be organized top-down by the left DLPFC and by working memory processing in the medial prefrontal cortex.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Example of control stimuli (A) and creative stimuli (B). The answer for (A) is rectangle, and for (B), sample answers include a smiley face, Homer Simpson or a man in a Volkswagen bug.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Activation pattern for the contrast ‘Creative > Control’. Left: SMA and left superior frontal gyrus are active. Middle: SMA and mPFC are active. Right: left IFG, left parietal cortex and left middle temporal gyrus are active. Images were thresholded using clusters determined by Z > 2.3 and a (corrected) cluster significance threshold of P = 0.05.

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