SBI Research Seminar September 29, 12.15-13.15

“Two neural pathways to creative achievement”


Örjan de Manzano
Dept of Neuroscience

Karolinska Institutet


Place: Tellus, Scheeles väg 1, plan 5, Karolinska Institutet



Different neuroimaging studies of creative performance have shown seemingly paradoxical results regarding the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which has been found to activate, not activate or even deactivate relative control conditions. On one hand, the DLPFC has been argued to exert active top-down control over generative thought by inhibiting habitual responses, thereby enabling wider associations and more original output; on the other, a deactivation and concomitant decrease in monitoring and focused attention has been suggested to facilitate more spontaneous associations and novel insights. We have recently been able to recreate both these outcomes in an fMRI study on piano improvisation. In this study we demonstrate that similar levels of complexity in creative performance can be achieved with different cognitive strategies, utilizing different neural networks.


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