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Brain activity and connectivity during poetry composition: Toward a multidimensional model of the creative process.

Liu S, Erkkinen MG, Healey ML, Xu Y, Swett KE, Chow HM, Braun AR - Hum Brain Mapp (2015)

Bottom Line: Distinct activation patterns were associated with generation and revision, two major phases of the creative process.Experts showed significantly stronger deactivation of DLPFC/IPS during generation, suggesting that they may more effectively suspend cognitive control.Quality of poetry, assessed by an independent panel, was associated with divergent connectivity patterns in experts and novices, centered upon MPFC (for technical facility) and DLPFC/IPS (for innovation), suggesting a mechanism by which experts produce higher quality poetry.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Language Section, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

A schematic depicting the proposed multidimensional model of creativity.The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and dorsal attention network (DLPFC/IPS) are central to the operation of this model. The dynamic interactions between the MPFC and DLPF/IPS and between these regions and other areas of the brain characterize the three essential features of creativity: stages of the creative process, expertise and product quality. Panels (A) and (B) represent two alternating cognitive states that support revision (A) and improvisation/generation (B). As indicated by red lines during both phases, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) motivates and maintains activity in other cortical regions (3) including language related (Lang), sensorimotor (S/M) and limbic areas. Solid blue lines indicate regulatory control imposed by the DLPFC/IPS on these same regions during the revision phase (A). During improvisation (B), such top‐down cognitive control is attenuated (dotted lines), in association with deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4). The MPFC and DLPFC/IPS are linked via direct intracortical connections (1), as well as connections (2) mediated by corticostriatal‐thalamocortical circuits, including caudate and thalamus (CD/TH),that regulate their excitability. These connections play a role in regulating activity in the DLPFC/IPS as these changes across the two phases. Compared to novices, experts show greater deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4) and activation of CD/TH (5) during the generation phase (B), reflecting their capacity to more readily suspend cognitive control and enter a state conducive to creative improvisation. Nevertheless, experts and novices show strikingly similar patterns of activity during both phases, suggesting that the same cognitive resources that support creative behavior are accessible to everyone, regardless of training or experience. Importantly, however, experts establish unique connections between MPFC and DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions that account for the superior quality of their creative products. Greater technical skills evidenced by experts are associated with stronger connections between the MPFC and downstream regions (6). In contrast, attenuated connections between the DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions (7) may reflect a selective disinhibition that results in the more innovative nature of their poetry.
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hbm22849-fig-0008: A schematic depicting the proposed multidimensional model of creativity.The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and dorsal attention network (DLPFC/IPS) are central to the operation of this model. The dynamic interactions between the MPFC and DLPF/IPS and between these regions and other areas of the brain characterize the three essential features of creativity: stages of the creative process, expertise and product quality. Panels (A) and (B) represent two alternating cognitive states that support revision (A) and improvisation/generation (B). As indicated by red lines during both phases, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) motivates and maintains activity in other cortical regions (3) including language related (Lang), sensorimotor (S/M) and limbic areas. Solid blue lines indicate regulatory control imposed by the DLPFC/IPS on these same regions during the revision phase (A). During improvisation (B), such top‐down cognitive control is attenuated (dotted lines), in association with deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4). The MPFC and DLPFC/IPS are linked via direct intracortical connections (1), as well as connections (2) mediated by corticostriatal‐thalamocortical circuits, including caudate and thalamus (CD/TH),that regulate their excitability. These connections play a role in regulating activity in the DLPFC/IPS as these changes across the two phases. Compared to novices, experts show greater deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4) and activation of CD/TH (5) during the generation phase (B), reflecting their capacity to more readily suspend cognitive control and enter a state conducive to creative improvisation. Nevertheless, experts and novices show strikingly similar patterns of activity during both phases, suggesting that the same cognitive resources that support creative behavior are accessible to everyone, regardless of training or experience. Importantly, however, experts establish unique connections between MPFC and DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions that account for the superior quality of their creative products. Greater technical skills evidenced by experts are associated with stronger connections between the MPFC and downstream regions (6). In contrast, attenuated connections between the DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions (7) may reflect a selective disinhibition that results in the more innovative nature of their poetry.

Mentions: The model we propose (Fig. 8), while it extends beyond the present set of findings, successfully incorporates all three of these essential features of creative activity and attempts to characterize the neural mechanisms underlying creative cognition in a way that can account for previous discrepancies in the neuroimaging literature [Abraham, 2013].


Brain activity and connectivity during poetry composition: Toward a multidimensional model of the creative process.

Liu S, Erkkinen MG, Healey ML, Xu Y, Swett KE, Chow HM, Braun AR - Hum Brain Mapp (2015)

A schematic depicting the proposed multidimensional model of creativity.The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and dorsal attention network (DLPFC/IPS) are central to the operation of this model. The dynamic interactions between the MPFC and DLPF/IPS and between these regions and other areas of the brain characterize the three essential features of creativity: stages of the creative process, expertise and product quality. Panels (A) and (B) represent two alternating cognitive states that support revision (A) and improvisation/generation (B). As indicated by red lines during both phases, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) motivates and maintains activity in other cortical regions (3) including language related (Lang), sensorimotor (S/M) and limbic areas. Solid blue lines indicate regulatory control imposed by the DLPFC/IPS on these same regions during the revision phase (A). During improvisation (B), such top‐down cognitive control is attenuated (dotted lines), in association with deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4). The MPFC and DLPFC/IPS are linked via direct intracortical connections (1), as well as connections (2) mediated by corticostriatal‐thalamocortical circuits, including caudate and thalamus (CD/TH),that regulate their excitability. These connections play a role in regulating activity in the DLPFC/IPS as these changes across the two phases. Compared to novices, experts show greater deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4) and activation of CD/TH (5) during the generation phase (B), reflecting their capacity to more readily suspend cognitive control and enter a state conducive to creative improvisation. Nevertheless, experts and novices show strikingly similar patterns of activity during both phases, suggesting that the same cognitive resources that support creative behavior are accessible to everyone, regardless of training or experience. Importantly, however, experts establish unique connections between MPFC and DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions that account for the superior quality of their creative products. Greater technical skills evidenced by experts are associated with stronger connections between the MPFC and downstream regions (6). In contrast, attenuated connections between the DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions (7) may reflect a selective disinhibition that results in the more innovative nature of their poetry.
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hbm22849-fig-0008: A schematic depicting the proposed multidimensional model of creativity.The medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and dorsal attention network (DLPFC/IPS) are central to the operation of this model. The dynamic interactions between the MPFC and DLPF/IPS and between these regions and other areas of the brain characterize the three essential features of creativity: stages of the creative process, expertise and product quality. Panels (A) and (B) represent two alternating cognitive states that support revision (A) and improvisation/generation (B). As indicated by red lines during both phases, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) motivates and maintains activity in other cortical regions (3) including language related (Lang), sensorimotor (S/M) and limbic areas. Solid blue lines indicate regulatory control imposed by the DLPFC/IPS on these same regions during the revision phase (A). During improvisation (B), such top‐down cognitive control is attenuated (dotted lines), in association with deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4). The MPFC and DLPFC/IPS are linked via direct intracortical connections (1), as well as connections (2) mediated by corticostriatal‐thalamocortical circuits, including caudate and thalamus (CD/TH),that regulate their excitability. These connections play a role in regulating activity in the DLPFC/IPS as these changes across the two phases. Compared to novices, experts show greater deactivation of the DLPFC/IPS (4) and activation of CD/TH (5) during the generation phase (B), reflecting their capacity to more readily suspend cognitive control and enter a state conducive to creative improvisation. Nevertheless, experts and novices show strikingly similar patterns of activity during both phases, suggesting that the same cognitive resources that support creative behavior are accessible to everyone, regardless of training or experience. Importantly, however, experts establish unique connections between MPFC and DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions that account for the superior quality of their creative products. Greater technical skills evidenced by experts are associated with stronger connections between the MPFC and downstream regions (6). In contrast, attenuated connections between the DLPFC/IPS and downstream regions (7) may reflect a selective disinhibition that results in the more innovative nature of their poetry.
Mentions: The model we propose (Fig. 8), while it extends beyond the present set of findings, successfully incorporates all three of these essential features of creative activity and attempts to characterize the neural mechanisms underlying creative cognition in a way that can account for previous discrepancies in the neuroimaging literature [Abraham, 2013].

Bottom Line: Distinct activation patterns were associated with generation and revision, two major phases of the creative process.Experts showed significantly stronger deactivation of DLPFC/IPS during generation, suggesting that they may more effectively suspend cognitive control.Quality of poetry, assessed by an independent panel, was associated with divergent connectivity patterns in experts and novices, centered upon MPFC (for technical facility) and DLPFC/IPS (for innovation), suggesting a mechanism by which experts produce higher quality poetry.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Language Section, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus