Cognitive neuroscientist Evangelia Chrysikou, in a new study at Drexel University, sought to understand how the brain’s activity influences creativity. She assembled a group of 20 “eminent” creators and matched them with a control group, studying differences in the functional connections within the brain. The study found that in the eminent creators, there was higher connectivity, especially between the default mode network and the executive control network, which are usually antagonistic but more collaborative during creative tasks. Additionally, when engaged in a creativity task, the brains of eminent creators were more efficient and focused compared to non-eminent creators.
- Creativity as a Spectrum: Evangelia Chrysikou views creativity as a spectrum of recombining known elements into something new and employs tools like fMRI machines to study brain activity associated with creativity.
- Comparison Between Eminent and Non-eminent Creators: The study compared eminent creators with a control group, assessing their creativity based on a questionnaire, and found differences in brain connectivity.
- Increased Connectivity in Creative Brains: For eminent creators, there was increased dialogue between the default mode network and the executive control network, two key areas important for creative thinking.
- Efficiency During Creative Tasks: When engaged in a traditional creativity task, eminent creators’ brains were found to be more efficient, focused, and specific in recruiting brain regions.
- Memory and Creativity Connection: The study suggested that creative acts rely on access to specific memories, and the brains of highly creative individuals engage in a dialogue or filtering of the memory search process to reinterpret objects or create something new.