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Neuroimage. 2007 Nov 15;38(3):519-28. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Cerebral blood flow associated with creative performance: a comparative study.

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Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente, Mexico.


Creativity is important for social survival and individual wellbeing; science, art, philosophy and technology have been enriched and expanded by this trait. To our knowledge this is the first study probing differences in brain cerebral blood flow (CBF) between highly creative individuals (scientists and/or artists socially recognized for their contributions to their fields with creativity indexes corresponding to the 99% percentile) and average control subjects while performing a verbal task from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Additionally, we correlated CBF with creativity dimensions such as fluency, originality and flexibility. Subjects with a high creative performance showed greater CBF activity in right precentral gyrus, right culmen, left and right middle frontal gyrus, right frontal rectal gyrus, left frontal orbital gyrus, and left inferior gyrus (BA 6, 10, 11, 47, 20), and cerebellum; confirming bilateral cerebral contribution. These structures have been involved in cognition, emotion, working memory, and novelty response. The score on the three creativity dimensions--fluency, originality, and flexibility--correlated with CBF activation in right middle frontal gyrus and right rectal gyrus (Brodmann Area 6, 11). Moreover, fluency and flexibility strongly correlated with CBF in left inferior frontal gyrus and originality correlated with CBF in left superior temporal gyrus and cerebellar tonsil. These findings suggest an integration of perceptual, volitional, cognitive and emotional processes in creativity. The higher CBF found in particular brain regions of highly creative individuals during the performance of a creative task provides evidence of a specific neural network related to the creative process.

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