Empirical studies indicate a link between creativity and schizotypal personality traits, where individuals who score highly on schizotypy measures also display greater levels of creative behaviour. However, the exact nature of this relationship is not yet clear, with only a few studies examining this association using neuroimaging methods. In the present study, the neural substrates of creative thinking were assessed with a drawing task paradigm in healthy individuals using fMRI. These regions were then statistically correlated with the participants’ level of schizotypy as measured by the Oxford–Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE), which is a questionnaire consisting of four dimensions. Neural activations associated with the creativity task were observed in bilateral inferior temporal gyri, left insula, left parietal lobule, right angular gyrus, as well as regions in the prefrontal cortex. This widespread pattern of activation suggests that creative thinking utilises multiple neurocognitive networks, with creative production being the result of collaboration between these regions. Furthermore, the correlational analyses found the Unusual Experiences factor of the O-LIFE to be the most common dimension associated with these areas, followed by the Impulsive Nonconformity dimension. These correlations were negative, indicating that individuals who scored the highest in these factors displayed the least amount of activation when performing the creative task. This is in line with the idea that ‘less is more’ for creativity, where the deactivation of specific cortical areas may facilitate creativity. Thus, these findings contribute to the evidence of a common neural basis between creativity and schizotypy.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
How is creativity helped by being just a little bit crazy?
Park et al. examine individuals with schizotypal personality disorder, which is characterized by need for social isolation, anxiety in social situations, odd behavior and thinking, and often unconventional beliefs, but does not engage the false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, and auditory hallucinations characteristic of schizophrenia. They suggest that the greater levels of creative behavior found in such individuals correlates with deactivation of specific cortical areas, in agreement with 'less is more' models for creativity.