Monday, March 10, 2014

Default mode network: the seat of literary creativity?

Wise et al. offer an article with the title of this post in Trends in Cognitive Sciences that comments on the brain areas that consistently become active in different subjects when spoken and written versions of a narrative are presented. They found
...a distribution of correlated activity in the midline posterior cortex and bilateral posterior inferior parietal cortex. This forms the posterior part of the so-called default mode network (DMN; Figure 1), a system classically associated with the introspective mind. It has been observed before, in another meta-analysis of language studies, one that set out to reveal the semantic system [ref]. The authors of that review, and others since (ref), have discussed how memories, semantic and personal, emotions, theory of mind, and no doubt many other mental functions are linked through the DMN. This would suggest that overlapping components of the DMN are functionally interconnected with many separate brain systems, including those for language and semantics, and indeed this is turning out to be the case (refs).

Spot the literary network: the default mode network (DMN) viewed from different angles (colors are intended for illustrative purposes only; data from [ref]). The medial posterior cingulate (PCC) and inferior posterior parietal components (IPP) were implicated in linguistic processing by Regev et al. [ref], but we suggest that due to the widespread connectivity of the DMN, these regions are related to higher order ‘literary’ processing.

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