Article

Biochemical support for the "threshold" theory of creativity: A magnetic resonance spectroscopy study

The Mind Research Network, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 05/2009; 29(16):5319-25. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0588-09.2009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A broadly accepted definition of creativity refers to the production of something both novel and useful within a given social context. Studies of patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders and neuroimaging studies of healthy controls have each drawn attention to frontal and temporal lobe contributions to creativity. Based on previous magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy studies demonstrating relationships between cognitive ability and concentrations of N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA), a common neurometabolite, we hypothesized that NAA assessed in gray and white matter (from a supraventricular slab) would relate to laboratory measures of creativity. MR imaging and divergent thinking measures were obtained in a cohort of 56 healthy controls. Independent judges ranked the creative products of each participant, from which a "Composite Creativity Index" (CCI) was created. Different patterns of correlations between NAA and CCI were found in higher verbal ability versus lower verbal ability participants, providing neurobiological support for a critical "threshold" regarding the relationship between intelligence and creativity. To our knowledge, this is the first report assessing the relationship between brain chemistry and creative cognition, as measured with divergent thinking, in a cohort comprised exclusively of normal, healthy participants.

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    • "The relationship between ideational fluency and brain structure depends on intelligence The threshold hypothesis posits that an above-average IQ forms a necessary, but not sufficient condition for high creative potential (Guilford, 1967). While recent investigations corroborated the threshold effect on a behavioral level (Jauk et al., 2013; Karwowski and Gralewski, 2013), there is to date only one study on the neurobiological basis of the threshold effect (Jung et al., 2009). In their spectroscopic study, Jung et al. observed different correlations between creative potential and NAA, a marker of neuronal integrity, in groups of lower and higher IQ. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is increasing research interest in the structural and functional brain correlates underlying creative potential. Recent investigations found that interindividual differences in creative potential relate to volumetric differences in brain regions belonging to the default mode network, such as the precuneus. Yet, the complex interplay between creative potential, intelligence, and personality traits and their respective neural bases are still under debate. We investigated regional gray matter volume (rGMV) differences that can be associated with creative potential in a heterogeneous sample of N = 135 individuals using voxel-based morphometry (VBM). By means of latent variable modeling and consideration of recent psychometric advancements in creativity research, we sought to disentangle the effects of ideational originality and fluency as two independent indicators of creative potential. Intelligence and openness to experience were considered as common covariates of creative potential. The results confirmed and extended previous research: rGMV in the precuneus was associated with ideational originality, but not with ideational fluency. In addition, we found ideational originality to be correlated with rGMV in the caudate nucleus. The results indicate that the ability to produce original ideas is tied to default-mode as well as dopaminergic structures. These structural brain correlates of ideational originality were apparent throughout the whole range of intellectual ability and thus not moderated by intelligence. In contrast, structural correlates of ideational flueny, a quantitative marker of creative potential, were observed only in lower intelligent individuals in the cuneus / lingual gyrus.
    NeuroImage 12/2015; 7. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.02.002 · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    • "The relationship between ideational fluency and brain structure depends on intelligence The threshold hypothesis posits that an above-average IQ forms a necessary, but not sufficient condition for high creative potential (Guilford, 1967). While recent investigations corroborated the threshold effect on a behavioral level (Jauk et al., 2013; Karwowski and Gralewski, 2013), there is to date only one study on the neurobiological basis of the threshold effect (Jung et al., 2009). In their spectroscopic study, Jung et al. observed different correlations between creative potential and NAA, a marker of neuronal integrity, in groups of lower and higher IQ. "
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    • "Such abilities are hypothesized to support the creative process by providing the executive control needed to guide memory retrieval and inhibit salient but unoriginal ideas (Beaty & Silvia, 2012, 2013; Benedek, Franz, Heene, & Neubauer, 2012; Benedek et al., 2014; Gilhooly, Fioratou, Anthony, & Wynn, 2007; Silvia, Beaty, Nusbaum, Eddington, & Kwapil., in press). Nevertheless, the role of cognitive control in creative thought remains controversial, as other work supports a defocused attention account of creativity (Takeuchi et al., 2011) and a limit to the correlation between creativity and intelligence (Jauk, Benedek, Dunst, & Neubauer, 2013; Jung et al., 2009). Behavioral evidence for the role of executive processes in divergent thinking has received support from electroencephalogram (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present research used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine whether the ability to generate creative ideas corresponds to differences in the intrinsic organization of functional networks in the brain. We examined functional connectivity between regions commonly implicated in neuroimaging studies of divergent thinking, including the inferior prefrontal cortex and the core hubs of the default network. Participants were prescreened on a battery of divergent thinking tests and assigned to high- and low-creative groups based on task performance. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis revealed greater connectivity between the left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the entire default network in the high-creative group. The right IFG also showed greater functional connectivity with bilateral inferior parietal cortex and the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the high-creative group. The results suggest that the ability to generate creative ideas is characterized by increased functional connectivity between the inferior prefrontal cortex and the default network, pointing to a greater cooperation between brain regions associated with cognitive control and low-level imaginative processes.
    Neuropsychologia 09/2014; 64. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.09.019 · 3.45 Impact Factor
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