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Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2016 Jun;31(4):285-96. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acw009. Epub 2016 Mar 21.

Possible Brain Mechanisms of Creativity.

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Department of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, USA Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Florida College of Health Related Professions and the Malcom Randall Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Gainesville, FL, USA


Creativity is the new discovery, understanding, development and expression of orderly and meaningful relationships. Creativity has three major stages: preparation, the development (nature and nurture) of critical knowledge and skills; innovation, the development of a creative solution; and creative production. Successful preparation requires a basic level of general intelligence and domain specific knowledge and skills and highly creative people may have anatomic alterations of specific neocortical regions. Innovation requires disengagement and divergent thinking primarily mediated by frontal networks. Creative people are often risk-takers and novelty seekers, behaviors that activate their ventral striatal reward system. Innovation also requires associative and convergent thinking, activities that are dependent on the integration of highly distributed networks. People are often most creative when they are in mental states associated with reduced levels of brain norepinephrine, which may enhance the communication between distributed networks. We, however, need to learn more about the brain mechanisms of creativity.


Convergent and associative thinking; Creativity; Divergent thinking; Incubation; Innovation; Preparation-development

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