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Ruston Fellows

on 23 September 2014

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Transcript of Creativity

Neuroscience of

- people often get the right idea suddenly and suprisingly

starting point


neurons respond maximally to a particular microfeature but they do also respond in a lesser variable gradient to other related

- distributed memories

Properties of Memory
- memory is "distributed" across cell assemblies
- one neuron can be used over and over (neural reentrance

- Overlapping neuro regions that will respond to the same microfeature
- connecting (associations)
- Addressability: meaning linked with associations
Consequence: memories are encoded in overlapping distributions of neurons & activation can spread from on cell assembly to the next

representations (memories) are encoded in memory in a way that reflects how they are reciprocally related; by spatial regional layout

the organization is implicit (not deliberate or conscious)

the computer searches and selects
but the brain activates similar memories simultaneously

similarity determines that what is activated is relevant, there is no

multiple activations in the same memories
- the memory that comes to brain is made entirely of the associations with that experience based on the content that

Reconstructive interference : merging or fusing (interacting) of multiple activations and experience

Distributed, content-addressable Architecture

Unusual Associations

Radial Basis Function (RBF)

spiky activation: undistrivuted memory like in computer
flat activisim: fully distrivuted memory
Memory is mostly used shifting in a continum

Thinking successive single though activate a number of situation speicifc and general cliques
refractory period & team coordination/play make sure that in the sort term the same thought is not reactivated again


Neuroscience of Creativity: Art and Dementia Ch.6

The Thesis

Cognitive functions are lost during neurodegeneration leads to coping strategies which lead to the emergence of creative behavior

Focus on artistic and musical creativity in dementias

“People back in the day would punch you for that kind of idea”

Re-organization -> functional connectivity

Neuro Plasticity

The reconfiguring or reorganization of the brain constantly adapting


All theories are aiming at explaining

Substitiution Theory

no preconfigured area sensory quality
coordination of the sensory receptions ("planning action")

Reconstruct conciousness based on sensory orientattion
conformation of sensory input
cybernetic = feedback system that wrks via sensory input and completed by the feedback of motor orientation
e.i. will work in tune with movement and thats how schema's of action are formed
sensory input with action (movement)

takeover or compensate

memory language and attention

Overview fo neural circuits affected by neurodegenerative disease

Alzheimer's Disease (AD):

Neural Networks in Creativity I

Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activates sensory and semantic associative areas which regulate working memory and dilberate

often studied to

FTD = estranged apathy, disinhibitii
Semantic Dementia (SD): semantic memory deficits

Neuroscience of Visual Arts

Psychology of Creativity

Hennessey & Amabile (2009)

General Overview Psych of Creativity

Working Memory
Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex
Other Limbic Regions
Vertromedial Prefrtonal Cortex
Visual Association Cortex
Auditory Association Cortex
Semantic Association Cortex
Deliberate cognitive

Spontaneous Cognitive

Deliberate Emotional

Spontaneous Emotional

Types of creative output and the interactions between neural networks that support them. Thicker arrows indicate control, thinner arrows indicate information flow.
Unraveling Bolero
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Creativity Levels
Big C
Little C
Mini C

General Domain
Domain Specific
Divergent Thinking
Positive Affect Effect
Trait Creativity
Convergent Focused Thinking
Hennessey & Amabile (2010)
“Magic” of Creativity

Creativity = Pulling out of brain/memory something new, useful and appropriate to task at hand
Individual Neurons provide too a low level account

• Localization through functional neuroimaging gives just too a High-level account
• Middle Level: Representational Capacity: Level of distributed aggregates of neurons
Question 2: Potentially infinite possibilities exist to come up with something new?

Yet people often zero in on the ideas that are “just right”
Properties of Memory

Memories that share some micro-features are encoded in overlapping neural regions
One content has a systematic relationship of WHERE is encoded (stored)

Distributed, Content-addressable Architecture

Distribution: Overlap between items that share micro-features (ASSOCIATIONS)
GOAL: explaining “Transformational Creativity”
• Pulling out something that was never put into the system in the first place
• However, what gets pulled out has some relationship to experiences and knowledge that was in memory before the creative act

Question 1: could the “pulling out” be simply explained by MIND-WONDERING?

That is: Playing with existing ideas and knowledge in an undirected unstructured way?

How comes only rarely mind-wondering actually leads to insight?

Different than in Computer analogy
• One address one location
ADDRESSABILITY: meaning linked with associations
Consequence: memories are encoded in overlapping distributions of neurons & activation can spread from one cell assembly to the next Implications
Representations (memories) are encoded in memory in a way that reflects how they are reciprocally related; by spatial regional layout

The organization is implicit (not deliberate or conscious)
Starting point
• Human memories are encoded in neurons that are sensitive to ranges (values) of micro-features (i.e., color, shape, orientation etc.)
• Neurons respond maximally to a particular micro feature but they do also respond in a lesser variable gradient to other related (similar?) micro features (COARSE CODING)

Is Creativity a matter of neuroscience?

Or is it beyond the reach of science?

Neuroscientific set up: Material embodiment, sociocultural context, role of brain
Defining the Boundaries of Creativity

Creativity refers to the generation of new and useful products within a specific context

"New" is particularly controversial.

Psychological Novelty or P-Novelty refers to new to the individual or group experiences
• P may be repeated, not dependent on sociocultural or historical context
• Note P is not necessarily at individual level, it could be a group
Historical Novelty or H-novelty refers to a new creation in all of history
• H depends on sociocultural but must be P be necessity before becoming H
• H is a special case of P

Neuroscience should focus on P (Do you agree?)

Prediction vs. Explanation
• Very few branches of science actually care about “narrow” prediction of individual tiny events (well except if it is critical, like a meteorite crashing on earth)
• Rather science is concerned with how it is possible that certain events occur, what is the network or structure of links between the possible events
• Neuroscience explanation of P: not merely where it occurs in the brain but what the brain cells are doing, what the circuits are doing, what sort of INFORMATION PROCESSING is involved

Unpredictability vs. Computational Variety
• Unpredictability (“Surprise effect”) not the point of the scientific study and outside its reach and scope
• Variety: Different kinds of creativity and information processing
Three Main Types of Creativity
- unfamiliar combinations of familiar ideas/products
existing ideas, products, rules are used to generate novel ideas or products which are recognized as possible
- existing ideas, products, rules are ALTERED to generate a product that seemed impossible
Creative vs. Merely New
• To make something new “creative” there must be a positive value attached to that novelty
• Neuroscience must also consider (and hopefully explain) prior socially based judgments identifying novel ideas as creative
• Trivial: creative ideas may be a mix of different types of creativity
The Role of Neuroscience?

Especially Combinatorial Creativity

Associative processing: For example: Trial and error

Relevance (Fodor’s Frame Problem): Why the specific associations among million of possible unfamiliar combinations, which are valued immediately as creative
Comparative approach
• Don’t need to be Da Vinci or Einstein to be deemed creative everyone can be

• Animals must be creative to survive
• Comparison Humans vs animals, general processes?
Conditioning and Creative Processes
Chapter 3

Focus on principle 3
• Understated in Creativity research so far
• Chance + Judgment = Creativity
• Hence, chance alone is necessary but insufficient
• Simple novel behaviors/actions and mechanisms generated by learning exploiting “chance alone” is the (narrow but critical) focus here

• Current behavior is never precisely the same
• Radical Behaviorism (i.e., Skinner) though needs to postulate strict determinism
• But where do NEW behavior come from?
• Thorndike’s Law of Effect: actions selected by the consequence of those actions
• Assuming the response before learning: response is in the animal’s repertoire ready to be selected >>>

This DOES NOT explain New behaviors!

Explicitly Reinforced Variability in Behavior

Behavioral Variability itself can be directly modulated by reinforcement
Two possible mechanisms for variability:
1) Retrospective memory: Memory of previous response, but to actually avoid repeating inefficient actions if high variability is reinforced
2) Random behavior-generation: when variability is explicitly reinforced behavior tends to approach random distribution
• Not mutually exclusive mechanisms, but memory may interfere with variation

Reinforcement of selection of variable behavior
• Direct reinforcement of variability facilitates selection of difficult highly rewarding behaviors
• Animals that are reinforced for acting variably will increase the probability of engaging in highly novel acts and potentially creative ones
Expectation and Variability Generation
• Other way to modulate variation via conditioning is through manipulation of expectations
• Behavioral variation increases markedly during extinction, when reward does not follow behavior X not only decreases but many other behaviors are attempted
• Reduction in reward expectation increases variation in emitted behavior

Parallel in humans: mood disorders and creativity
• Depressed individuals report they feel helpless and hopeless
• Analogy with an animal that has learned that his behavior X will not result in a reward
• Therefore, depressed and animals alike may engage in increasingly novel behavior as they have low reinforcement expectations
• Reinforcement increases total levels of variability but as reward becomes more “secure” variability decreases
• Disruption of BG alters levels of behav variability > increase in motor and cognitive stereotypical behaviors
“Cage Stereotypy”: stress and poorly stimulating environment
• BG implicated in depression
• BG key in associative preparations
Very very cool: Impairment in BG reduces variability in bird singing!!!
Creativity from Animal Research: Principles

Dependent on the ability to produce NOVEL and VARIABLE behavior

It must be useful behavior (not just noise)

Regulation by conditioning: learning history of predictive (classical cond.) and causal/consequential (instrumental cond.) of actions
Spontaneity & Novelty

• Instrumental (operant) behavior emitted by the organism is CONTROLLED by the organism.
-> These are “spontaneous”
• Reactive behavior as in for ex. Pavlovian conditioning elicited by a stimulus is not controlled by the organism
• Spontaneous behaviors are intrinsically variable even if so minimally
Knowledge Domain
Processing Mode
- Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activates sensory and semantic associative areas which regulate working memory
- Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activates Ventromedial Prefrontal cortex and other limbic regions regulating working memory then
- Direct regulation of working memory from association sensory and semantic networks
- Direct regulation of working memory from ventromedial prefrontal and other limbic regions
Where is creativity in effect during the process of producing art?
7 - Biological and Neuronal Underpinnings of Creativity in the Arts
But can creativity really be traced to a single point... moreover to any particular neuronal circuitry, hemispheric laterality, anatomical localization, or functional pathway?

In this chapter, the biological and neuroanatomical backgrounds of creativity are traced but the findings thus far tell that artists’ productivity and aesthetic taste are not a tangible consequence following brain injury to any specific brain domain.

hmm... innovation in animals... examples anyone?

...Therefore human creativity artistically or not partially originated in biological ancestry...

For birds, innovative deviations in behavior that are adaptive such as tool use and learning are correlated with larger brain size (in areas that correspond to associated areas in humans)
and thought to drive brain size evolution

Whereas in primates innovative
behavior deception is driven

Biology: Comparative Considerations
Visual Artists after Brain Damage
- Currently, there is not enough knowledge to pinpoint the brain localization of creativity
- Artists only seem to stop producing when motor system fails
- Evidence of sudden emergence of artistic production after
severe brain damage to the frontal lobe, especially initially,
is the result of the removal of inhibition but therefor plays
a part in creativity
In a review of apx. 55 cases of artists
who experienced brain damage was creative talent or skill affected?

The answer seems to be “NO”

One possible conclusion is that artistic creativity is
diffusely represented in the brain and whatever
"genetic” tendencies in style are also diffusely
What about suddenly becoming artistic after brain damage?

- It Is thought to be a result of a shift in communication mode in order to replace lost modes
- And repetitive art production is seen as having overlap with Obsessive-compulsive disorders
Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

PD : severe depletion of dopamine; severe disruption of motor functions

- Treatment increasing levels of dopamine (dopamine agonist medications)

- Several reports: Increased artist ic production after treatment is started

- Often treatment is associated with a obsessive-compulsive aspect

- Possible link between density of D2 receptors and individual variability in creativity
...of the neuroscience of creativity
Conditioning and the Control of Behavioural Variability

• Associative processes can be heavily involved in the production of novel actions.

• Animals engage in novel or unusal behaviour in situations where they believe the chance of reward is low.

• Direct reinforcement of variation in behaviour causes the animal with a large range of behavioural variability, approaching a random distribution.

• The basal ganglia may play roles in the production of variable behaviour. The impairment of the basal ganglia in songbirds has been shown to increase the stereotypy of their song

The top line of the painting represents the reinforcement of behavioural variation through reward. The rat that repeats the same action is not rewarded, creating an animal that expands its range of behaviours in order to obtain a reward.

The middle line of the painting represents the difference in behavioural variation when the rat expects reward, compared to when it does not. Novel behaviours are more likely to take place when the expectation of reward is low.

Finally, the lower line of the painting represents the role the basal ganglia may have in the production of variable behaviours. The impairment of the basal ganglia in songbirds has been shown to increase the stereotypy of their singing.
Insight in a Distributed, Content-Addressable Memory

• Memories are distributed across groups of neurons, known as neural cliques, and are encoded across many different neurons. Each neuron responds maximally to a specific microfeature of a memory, but also responds to other similar microfeatures. This is known as coarse coding.

• Memory is content-addressable, specific neural cliques are activated by specific memories

• Reconstructive interference can allow the combination of ideas that are stored in the brain but may not have necessarily been combined before

• A radial basis function has been suggested as a model to explain the distribution of neurons that are activated during insight

• Spiky activation means that a small number of neurons are activated, but activated strongly. This type of is also referred to as analytic, where one focuses their attention on specific relationships.

• Flat activation means that a much larger area of neurons is activated, including the same neurons while in spiky activation, but to a lesser degree. This type of activation, also known as associative, is suited for accessing abstract relationships.

• The shift between these two modes is referred to as contextual focus. The group of neurons surrounding a spiky activation, that would be activated if a shift to flat activation were to take place, is known as a neurd.

The top half of the painting represents the encoding of a specific microfeature across a neural clique. We can see that although one neuron in particular responds maximally to the microfeature, it is still encoded by the other neurons of the clique.

The lower half of the painting represents the two types of activation experienced when shifting contextual focus, spiky and flat. The area covered by the flat neurons is also the neurd.

Left Hemisphere, Average IQ
Right Hemisphere, High IQ
Before embarking on this journey we will begin by preparing a theoretical bases for the mission which is as stated:

We are entering this mission with the objective of
providing up-to-date knowledge in the neuroscience of creativity. We hope by the end of the mission that you will find a different and more complete understanding of all the major components of current neuroscience research. By visually representing major topics concisely and creatively, hopefully we will provide you with a new and useful view of the field as a whole.
- Increased neuronal packaging in prefrontal cortex (Einstein's brain, methodological issues)
- Lower neuronal integrity in right anterior cingulate gyrus
- Higher right parietal angular gyrus activation

Parietal and pre frontal regions experienced the highest level of alpha synchronization as shown by synchronized "firing" of neurons in the area
Watercolour and ink representations of the areas of the brain implicated in creative thinking. Review of chapters 10 & 11, furthered by data found in a study done by Kleibeuker et al. (2013) on the neural coding of creative idea generation by having participants complete an alternative uses task in an fMRI.
The inner universe of the mind is, like the physical world, an individual whom functions according its own judgement/innovations is how society will perceive.

The use of abstract images with coloured paint demonstrates the relationship of genetics and culture, as well individual differences.

• Genes and culture are partners in determining creative products, represented by the overlaying effect made by the different coloured paint. Separately, each has limits, but an individual who respects both can lead to creative outcomes.

• Culture will lead you to the direction in which creativity is channeled that is shaped by biological factors, represented by the black circle.
o Genetics needs environment in order to express itself as they are intertwined.

• The same factors that contribute to the generation of creativity at the individual level may contribute to the receptivity of creative products
o Generativity – How we judge a product is how we adopt innovations.
o Receptivity – how society receives (outcome) the creative product. The yellow and red paints demonstrate
This is represented by the yellow and red paint specifically as each colour is located inside the ‘brain’ of the individual. Showing how thoughts located inside the ‘brain’ will also reflect on how society will receive the creative output.

• Individual talent will benefit from practice, the individual difference in practising themselves become influenced by genotype.

- Lower density orbitofrontal grey matter, represented with green paint
- Supramarginal gyrus activation
Associated with task switching and flexible thinking
- PFIT Processing
Sensory input --> Wernicke’s area or fusiform gyrus (dependent on type of sensory information) --> Parietal lobe --> Prefrontal cortex --> Anterior cingulate cortex.
Represents a feed-forward model of information processing, from sensory regions to the prefrontal cortex. Representing with red pathway and general firing
- Activation of the left inferior parietal lobe
Higher glial count found in Einsten's brain, however many methodological issues
- Anterior cingulate cortex (higher activation in average IQ)
Possible mechanism of monitoring information retrieval, filtering sensory information.
- F-DIM Processing Theory: Disinhibition of the Frontal Lobe by lesions to the Temporal and Parietal Regions
Increased originality, represented with blue crosshatching
- Middle temporal gyrus—higher activation

Frontal Disinhibition

- Frontal damage by itself is linked with disinhibition

- However, frontal damage does not lead necessarily to creativity

- The link might be in changes in some pathways of connectivity: Prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia seem to be involved in overcoming status quo by taking difficult decisions
Lower density orbitofrontal grey matter
Higher anterior cingulate gyrus activation
Supramarginal gyrus activation
- PFIT Processing
Activation of the left inferior parietal lobe
F-DIM Processing Theory
Middle temporal gyrus
-Higher anterior cingulate gyrus activation
Increased neuronal packaging
Lower neuronal integrity in high IQ condition in right anterior cingulate cortex
right parietal gyrus activation
EEG Correlates of "AHA!" Moment
The purpose of our project was to present course material and recent literature in a creative way to present a unified understanding of the neuroscience of creativity. Each topic is shown symbolically and informatively through visual representation. We chose to do all topics instead of focusing on only one, to enhance learning and provide a unified vision.

A main problem in neuroscience is the lack of a unified vision and understanding of the subject as a whole, and we hope to provide a first step in helping to fit all the pieces together.

Our project is useful by providing a sort of “study guide” that enhances understanding by presenting the material visually to facilitate encoding and recall. In addition, each piece could potentially facilitate learning and provide a more complete understanding of the material in future classes taught by Amedeo.

Our project is novel by both introducing each topic in a creative way and allowing each topic to be viewed together visually. As well, additional articles were used on each topic to gain a deeper understanding and share more through art.

The purpose was to give a unified, visual display of the discussion of creativity to help students gain a deeper and more complete understanding.

We hope you enjoyed the ride!
Mixed Media - pigment on canvas interpretation of the information synthesized in chapters 8 and 9 pertaining to psychopharmacology and psychopathology
Initial studies into this field focused on the catecholaminergic systems, the dopamine and norepinephrine systems
When examining the dopaminergic pathway in reference to semantic priming it was found that L-dopa restricted the acts of priming and word recognition to only words that were directly related to each other
Further studies on the effects of semantic priming on healthy volunteers and patients with Parkinson's disease suggest this action is mediated through the D1 receptor
Correlation between dopaminergic activity and creative problem solving
Norepinephrine is implicated in the regulation of noise and propranolol a central beta-adrenergic antagonist has been found to increase access to noise which facilitates associative retrieval patterns
Unconstrained flexibility is the ability to query across a network whereas constrained flexibility is a query limited by parameters.
Norepinephrine activity has been shown to inhibit unconstrained flexibility and increase constrained flexibility.

Creativity highly correlated with the presence of mood disorders, schizospectrum disorders and substance abuse
All three follow the inverted U hypothesis!
Mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and creativity seem to correlate during a shift towards the mania
Schizophrenic association to creativity is typically present when symptoms have not been serious enough to be diagnosed
shares a link of decreased latent inhibition with creative individuals
Substance abuse is correlated with a lack of inhibition while maintaining motivation
This piece brings together chapters 8 and 9 by depicting the connection between the catecholaminergic systems and latent inhibition by presenting an abstract diagram and text superimposed by cacophony of overwhelming stimuli.

Innovation in animals: Examples anyone?

• Birds: Brain size correlated with innovation
(mostly areas that correspond to association
areas in humans)
• Tool use and learning drives brain size
evolution in birds
• Primates: Deception and mostly food
preparation or gathering
Kleibeuker, S.W., P. Koolschijn, D. D. Jolles, C. D. Dreu, E. A. Crone. 2013. The neural coding of creative idea generation across adolescence and early adulthood. Front Hum Neurosci, 7: 905.
Patrick, C.L. (2000). Genetic and environmental influences on the development of cognitive abilities: Evidence from the field of developmental behavior genetics. Journal of School Psychology, 38, 79-108.
Pederzolli, A., Tivarus, M., Agrawal, P., Kostyk, S., Thomas, K., & Beversdorf, D. (2008). Dopaminergic modulation of semantic priming in parkinson disease. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 21(3), 134-137.
Dietrich, A. (2004). The cognitive neuroscience of creativity. Psychonomic Bulltein & Review, 11, 1011-1026
Gabora, L. 2010. Revenge of the “neurds”: Characterizing creative thought in terms of the structure and dynamics of human memory. Creativity Research Journal, 22: 1 – 13.
Kao, M.H. & Brainard, M.S. 2006. Lesions of an avian basal ganglia circuit prevent context-dependent changes to song variability. Journal of Neurophysiology, 96, 1441 – 1455.
Page, S. & Neuringer, A. 1985. Variability is an operant. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behaviour Processes, 11, 429 – 452.
We fully covered the introduction/background by exemplifying all of the components covered in class, not just one, and by providing supplemental information through additional resources as well as visual interpretations of each topic.
We fully covered technical content by developing a deep understanding of the material. We were able to reproduce the information through a creative medium while summarizing the key points of each topic in one piece. This exemplifies a clear and appropriate presentation format.
By flipping the assignment on its head we fully covered the creative component. Our assignment is creative by providing a new and useful way to view and unify the topics of creativity, through original and creative mediums. Each member of our group was able to creatively provide new symbols and meanings to their topics allowing them to come together to create a unique and complete understanding of the material.
We fully covered the organization component by presenting each unique topic in Prezi which provides a novel way to present each topic separately, but fluidly. We each had to draw our own conclusions from each chapter and ensure the key points of each were captured, before re-representing it in an imaginative multimedia fashion.
The overall presentation is complete by both providing a study guide and a creative, visual understanding of the course. It could also serve as a useful tool for future classes to aid in imparting course material, particularly for those students that learn better by means of visual communication.
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