Creative thinking ability is characterized by a distinct brain connectivity profile.
"Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), several studies have identified discrete brain regions that support performance on verbal creativity tasks, largely localized within frontoparietal and frontotemporal cortices involved in cognitive control and semantic memory retrieval, respectively (5, 6). More recently, researchers have embraced new techniques in fMRI data analysis to examine coordinated patterns of neural activity across multiple distributed brain regions (i.e., functional connectivity) during various tasks that assess creative cognition and artistic performance, including divergent thinking, figurative language production, musical improvisation, poetry composition, and visual art production (1). This work highlights the contribution of three large-scale brain systems that dynamically interact to support creative task performance: the default mode network, comprised of cortical midline and posterior inferior parietal regions; the executive (or frontoparietal) control network, comprised of lateral prefrontal and anterior inferior parietal regions; and the salience network, comprised of bilateral insula and anterior cingulate cortex (7). Building on dual-process theories of creative cognition (8), which emphasize idea generation and evaluation processes, a recent brain network model posits that the default network supports idea generation and the executive network supports idea evaluation (1, 9), consistent with their established roles in mental simulation and executive cognition, respectively (7). Furthermore, the salience network—which contributes to the detection of behaviorally relevant stimuli and facilitates dynamic transitions between default and executive systems (10)—may identify candidate ideas stemming from generative processes within the default network and forward such information to executive systems for higher order processing (9)."
- Beaty, R. E., Kenett, Y. N., Christensen, A. P., Rosenberg, M. D., Benedek, M., Chen, Q., ... & Silvia, P. J. (2018). Robust prediction of individual creative ability from brain functional connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201713532. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1713532115