Creativity and the default network: A functional connectivity analysis of the creative brain at rest

Neuropsychologia. 2014 Nov:64:92-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.09.019. Epub 2014 Sep 20.


The present research used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine whether the ability to generate creative ideas corresponds to differences in the intrinsic organization of functional networks in the brain. We examined the functional connectivity between regions commonly implicated in neuroimaging studies of divergent thinking, including the inferior prefrontal cortex and the core hubs of the default network. Participants were prescreened on a battery of divergent thinking tests and assigned to high- and low-creative groups based on task performance. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis revealed greater connectivity between the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the entire default mode network in the high-creative group. The right IFG also showed greater functional connectivity with bilateral inferior parietal cortex and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the high-creative group. The results suggest that the ability to generate creative ideas is characterized by increased functional connectivity between the inferior prefrontal cortex and the default network, pointing to a greater cooperation between brain regions associated with cognitive control and low-level imaginative processes.

Keywords: Creative cognition; Default mode network; Divergent thinking; Inferior frontal gyrus; Resting-state functional connectivity.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Creativity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Thinking / physiology*
  • Young Adult