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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.