Middle occipital area differentially associates with malevolent versus benevolent creativity: An fNIRS investigation

Soc Neurosci. 2022 Apr;17(2):127-142. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2022.2038261. Epub 2022 Feb 10.


This study aimed to explore the neural correlates underlying idea generation during malevolent creativity (MC) using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Participants were asked to solve problems during three types of creativity tasks: malevolent creativity task (MCT), benevolent creativity task (BCT), and alternative uses task (AUT). fNIRS was used to record individual cerebral activity during the tasks. The results revealed that participants demonstrated weaker neural activation in the right middle occipital area (rMO) and lower neural coupling (NC) between the right frontopolar cortex (rFPC) and rMO during MCT than during BCT and AUT. These suggest that r-MO activity and NC between the rFPC and rMO may distinguish between malevolent and benevolent forms of creative ideation.

Keywords: Creativity; fNIRS; functional connectivity; malevolent creativity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Creativity*
  • Humans
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared* / methods