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Yu-chu Yeh
Wei-Chin Hsu
Elisa Marie Rega


National Chengchi University, Taipei, Taiwan
National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan
Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, United States


Consensus of creativity research suggests that the measurement of both originality and valuableness is necessary when designing creativity tasks. However, few studies have emphasized valuableness when exploring underlying neural substrates of creative thinking. The present study employs product-based creativity tasks that measure both originality and valuableness in an exploration of the dynamic relationship between the default mode (DMN), executive control (ECN), and salience (SN) networks through time windows. This methodology highlights relevance, or valuableness, in creativity evaluation as opposed to divergent thinking tasks solely measuring originality. The researchers identified seven brain regions belonging to the ECN, DMN, and SN as regions of interest (ROIs), as well as four representative seeds to analyze functional connectivity in 25 college student participants. Results showed that all of the identified ROIs were involved during the creative task. The insula, precuneus, and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) remained active across all stages of product-based creative thinking. Moreover, the connectivity analyses revealed varied interaction patterns of DMN, ECN, and SN at different thinking stages. The integrated findings of the whole brain, ROI, and connectivity analyses suggest a trend that the DMN and SN (which relate to bottom-up thinking) attenuate as time proceeds, whereas the vlPFC (which relates to top-down thinking) gets stronger at later stages; these findings reflect the nature of our creativity tasks and decision-making of valuableness in later stages. Based on brain region activation throughout execution of the task, we propose that product-based creative process may include three stages: exploration and association, incubation and insight, and finally, evaluation and decision making. This model provides a thinking frame for further research and classroom instruction.


default mode network, dynamic connectivity, executive control network, product-based creativity, salience network, time window

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