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Training of verbal creativity modulates brain activity in regions associated with language ‐ and memory ‐ related demands

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

2015 the authors human brain mapping published by wiley periodicals, inc.: This functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) study was designed to investigate changes in functional patterns of brain activity during creative ideation as a result of a computerized, 3‐week verbal creativity training. The training was composed of various verbal divergent thinking exercises requiring participants to train approximately 20 min per day. Fifty‐three participants were tested three times (psychometric tests and fMRI assessment) with an intertest‐interval of 4 weeks each. Participants were randomly assigned to two different training groups, which received the training time‐delayed: The first training group was trained between the first and the second test, while the second group accomplished the training between the second and the third test session. At the behavioral level, only one training group showed improvements in different facets of verbal creativity right after the training. Yet, functional patterns of brain activity during creative ideation were strikingly similar across both training groups. Whole‐brain voxel‐wise analyses (along with supplementary region of interest analyses) revealed that the training was associated with activity changes in well‐known creativity‐related brain regions such as the left inferior parietal cortex and the left middle temporal gyrus, which have been shown as being particularly sensitive to the originality facet of creativity in previous research. Taken together, this study demonstrates that continuous engagement in a specific complex cognitive task like divergent thinking is associated with reliable changes of activity patterns in relevant brain areas, suggesting more effective search, retrieval, and integration from internal memory representations as a result of the training. Hum Brain Mapp 36:4104–4115, 2015. ©

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Overview of experimental tasks during fMRI assessment. Each trial started with the presentation of a fixation cross (presentation time jittered between 4 and 8 s). Subsequently, either a noun (AUT) or an adjective (IT) was presented and remained on the screen for 15 s, referred to as idea generation period. Participants were presented 20 items in each task condition (AUT, IT), resulting in a total number of 40 trials. During the idea generation period, participants had to silently think of possible responses to the given stimulus word (either creative/original uses of given objects in the AUT, or facts/conditions/characteristics that apply to given adjectives in the IT) and they were requested not to speak. After the idea generation period the color of the stimulus word changed from white into green, and the participant was now allowed to articulate his or her ideas (Response interval 7s). [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com.]
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hbm22901-fig-0001: Overview of experimental tasks during fMRI assessment. Each trial started with the presentation of a fixation cross (presentation time jittered between 4 and 8 s). Subsequently, either a noun (AUT) or an adjective (IT) was presented and remained on the screen for 15 s, referred to as idea generation period. Participants were presented 20 items in each task condition (AUT, IT), resulting in a total number of 40 trials. During the idea generation period, participants had to silently think of possible responses to the given stimulus word (either creative/original uses of given objects in the AUT, or facts/conditions/characteristics that apply to given adjectives in the IT) and they were requested not to speak. After the idea generation period the color of the stimulus word changed from white into green, and the participant was now allowed to articulate his or her ideas (Response interval 7s). [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com.]

Mentions: Participants were presented 20 stimuli in each task (AUT, IT), resulting in a total number of 40 trials. At each time point a different set of AUT and IT stimuli was used. As shown in Figure 1, each trial started with the presentation of a fixation cross (presentation time jittered between 4 and 8 s). Subsequently, the stimulus word—either a noun (AUT) or an adjective (IT)—was presented and remained on the screen for a time period of 15 s, referred to as the idea generation period. During this phase participants had to silently think of possible responses to the given stimulus (either unconventional/original uses of everyday objects or instances of given adjectives) and they were requested not to speak. After the idea generation period the color of the stimulus word changed from white into green, signaling the participant to articulate his or her ideas. The response interval was 7 s. The oral responses were recorded and transcribed for further analyses. The order of presentation of experimental conditions was randomized. The total time of task presentation was about 20 min and the entire MRI session (involving other imaging sequences) took about 40 min.


Training of verbal creativity modulates brain activity in regions associated with language ‐ and memory ‐ related demands
Overview of experimental tasks during fMRI assessment. Each trial started with the presentation of a fixation cross (presentation time jittered between 4 and 8 s). Subsequently, either a noun (AUT) or an adjective (IT) was presented and remained on the screen for 15 s, referred to as idea generation period. Participants were presented 20 items in each task condition (AUT, IT), resulting in a total number of 40 trials. During the idea generation period, participants had to silently think of possible responses to the given stimulus word (either creative/original uses of given objects in the AUT, or facts/conditions/characteristics that apply to given adjectives in the IT) and they were requested not to speak. After the idea generation period the color of the stimulus word changed from white into green, and the participant was now allowed to articulate his or her ideas (Response interval 7s). [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com.]
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hbm22901-fig-0001: Overview of experimental tasks during fMRI assessment. Each trial started with the presentation of a fixation cross (presentation time jittered between 4 and 8 s). Subsequently, either a noun (AUT) or an adjective (IT) was presented and remained on the screen for 15 s, referred to as idea generation period. Participants were presented 20 items in each task condition (AUT, IT), resulting in a total number of 40 trials. During the idea generation period, participants had to silently think of possible responses to the given stimulus word (either creative/original uses of given objects in the AUT, or facts/conditions/characteristics that apply to given adjectives in the IT) and they were requested not to speak. After the idea generation period the color of the stimulus word changed from white into green, and the participant was now allowed to articulate his or her ideas (Response interval 7s). [Color figure can be viewed in the online issue, which is available at wileyonlinelibrary.com.]
Mentions: Participants were presented 20 stimuli in each task (AUT, IT), resulting in a total number of 40 trials. At each time point a different set of AUT and IT stimuli was used. As shown in Figure 1, each trial started with the presentation of a fixation cross (presentation time jittered between 4 and 8 s). Subsequently, the stimulus word—either a noun (AUT) or an adjective (IT)—was presented and remained on the screen for a time period of 15 s, referred to as the idea generation period. During this phase participants had to silently think of possible responses to the given stimulus (either unconventional/original uses of everyday objects or instances of given adjectives) and they were requested not to speak. After the idea generation period the color of the stimulus word changed from white into green, signaling the participant to articulate his or her ideas. The response interval was 7 s. The oral responses were recorded and transcribed for further analyses. The order of presentation of experimental conditions was randomized. The total time of task presentation was about 20 min and the entire MRI session (involving other imaging sequences) took about 40 min.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

2015 the authors human brain mapping published by wiley periodicals, inc.: This functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) study was designed to investigate changes in functional patterns of brain activity during creative ideation as a result of a computerized, 3‐week verbal creativity training. The training was composed of various verbal divergent thinking exercises requiring participants to train approximately 20 min per day. Fifty‐three participants were tested three times (psychometric tests and fMRI assessment) with an intertest‐interval of 4 weeks each. Participants were randomly assigned to two different training groups, which received the training time‐delayed: The first training group was trained between the first and the second test, while the second group accomplished the training between the second and the third test session. At the behavioral level, only one training group showed improvements in different facets of verbal creativity right after the training. Yet, functional patterns of brain activity during creative ideation were strikingly similar across both training groups. Whole‐brain voxel‐wise analyses (along with supplementary region of interest analyses) revealed that the training was associated with activity changes in well‐known creativity‐related brain regions such as the left inferior parietal cortex and the left middle temporal gyrus, which have been shown as being particularly sensitive to the originality facet of creativity in previous research. Taken together, this study demonstrates that continuous engagement in a specific complex cognitive task like divergent thinking is associated with reliable changes of activity patterns in relevant brain areas, suggesting more effective search, retrieval, and integration from internal memory representations as a result of the training. Hum Brain Mapp 36:4104–4115, 2015. ©

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus