Semantic divergence and creative story generation: an fMRI investigation

PA Howard-Jones, SJ Blakemore, EA Samuel, IR Summers, GL Claxton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

167 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this fMRI investigation was to identify those areas of the brain associated with approaching a story generation task creatively and to investigate the effects upon these correlates of incorporating a set of words that were unrelated to each other—a strategy considered to encourage semantic divergence. Preliminary experiments were undertaken to investigate the possible confounding effects of the scanner environment upon creativity and to reveal the effects of creative effort and word relatedness upon the creativity of those who would be participating in the fMRI scan. In the final part of the investigation, a factorial fMRI design was used to elucidate brain regions involved in increased creative effort and also the effect upon activity in these regions when participants incorporated words that bore little semantic relationship with each other. Results support the notion that areas of the right prefrontal cortex are critical to the types of divergent semantic processing involved with creativity in this context.
Translated title of the contributionSemantic divergence and creative story generation: an fMRI investigation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240 - 250
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Volume25 (1)
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2005

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Elsevier

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