Creative ability – where does it come from?

Creative ability – where does it come from?

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Creative ability basically is the outcome of searching, reorganizing and combining semantic memory. A new research article digs deeper into what mechanisms come into play when a creative idea is generated. Since memory search is not only determined by semantic memory structure but also a control component can be identified. It works as a support to executive mechanisms that allow individuals to selectively retrieve, manipulate and select meaningful information produced from the context. But then what makes a search for ideas creative? What components are related to increasing creativity?

Creative Ability - Where Does It Come From?

Creative ability components

To explore these questions related to neurocognitive components of semantic search that relate to creative abilities the researchers developed an associative fluency task. From this, they identified two components that were related to clustering and switching in the context of semantic memory structure, executive abilities and brain connectivity patterns. These two components correlated to creative abilities, but in different ways. The authors of the article “An investigation of the cognitive and neural correlates of semantic memory search related to creative ability” writes the following:

“… we propose that the switching component captures interactions between memory structure and control processes guiding search that support the ability to combine remote associates, whereas the clustering component captures controlled processes related to the persistent search that support divergent thinking.”

This means that flexibility in memory search relies on interactions between spontaneous and controlled processes to guide the search, in other words, interchanges between focused attention and exploratory search.

Written by
LarsGoran Bostrom©

Author of the book Learning Design in Practice for Everybody and developer of SOE PublishingLab

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