The aim of the present study was to explore brain activities associated with creativity and expertise in literary writing. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we applied a real-life neuroscientific setting that consisted of different writing phases (brainstorming and creative writing; reading and copying as control conditions) to well-selected expert writers and to an inexperienced control group.
During creative writing, experts showed cerebral activation in a predominantly left-hemispheric fronto-parieto-temporal network. When compared to inexperienced writers, experts showed increased left caudate nucleus and left dorsolateral and superior medial prefrontal cortex activation. In contrast, less experienced participants recruited increasingly bilateral visual areas. During creative writing activation in the right cuneus showed positive association with the creativity index in expert writers.
High experience in creative writing seems to be associated with a network of prefrontal (mPFC and DLPFC) and basal ganglia (caudate) activation. In addition, our findings suggest that high verbal creativity specific to literary writing increases activation in the right cuneus associated with increased resources obtained for reading processes.