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Cogn Process. 2012 Aug;13(3):193-209. doi: 10.1007/s10339-012-0439-y. Epub 2012 Mar 22.

Creativity and dementia: a review.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Public Health, University of L'Aquila, Piazzale S. Tommasi n.1, 67010 Coppito L'Aquila, Italy.


In these last years, creativity was found to play an important role for dementia patients in terms of diagnosis and rehabilitation strategies. This led us to explore the relationships between dementia and creativity. At the aim, artistic creativity and divergent thinking are considered both in non-artists and artists affected by different types of dementia. In general, artistic creativity can be expressed in exceptional cases both in Alzheimer's disease and Frontotemporal dementia, whereas divergent thinking decreases in dementia. The creation of paintings or music is anyway important for expressing emotions and well-being. Yet, creativity seems to emerge when the right prefrontal cortex, posterior temporal, and parietal areas are relatively intact, whereas it declines when these areas are damaged. However, enhanced creativity in dementia is not confirmed by controlled studies conducted in non-artists, and whether artists with dementia can show creativity has to be fully addressed. Future research directions are suggested.

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