Serena Mastria, Sergio Agnoli, Giovanni Emanuele Corazza

The neuroscientific study of creative thinking: Results and methodologies in the investigation of divergent thinking

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Keywords:

Creativity is one of the cognitive abilities that significantly differentiate humans from other animal species. For its intrinsic complexity, creative thinking has always been considered an elusive phenomenon, difficult to investigate. In recent years, however, the study of creative thinking is rapidly advancing thanks to important methodological developments, including innovative measurements for analyzing the creative behavior in combination with the use of tools that allow monitoring of brain activity. This work aims at providing an overview of recent empirical evidence on creativity in the field of neuroscientific research, focusing on a specific characteristic of the creative behavior, i.e., the divergent ability to produce potentially original and effective ideas to open-ended problems. Specifically, the main results and study methods emerging from the neuroscientific research on divergent thinking employing electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are taken into consideration. The results of this review highlight that the divergent thinking process can be rigorously examined from a neuroscientific point of view through the use of different techniques. In the conclusions, potential implications and future lines of research are discussed.

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