On the personality, cognition, and neurobiology of creativity

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


Two extreme groups of healthy male undergraduate students, either highly (n=12) or low creative (n=12), were pre-selected from a larger cohort (N=60) by way of the Creative functioning test (Smith & Carlsson, 1990). The two groups underwent measurements of regional cerebral blood-flow (rCBF). rCBF was measured during rest and during three verbal tasks (random order): Automatic speech (Auto), word fluency (FAS) and the unusual uses of objects test (Brick). The participant answered state and trait anxiety inventories after the rCBF measurements. On another day intelligence tests and a test of defense mechanisms were administered. Calculations were made of differences in blood flow levels between the FAS and the Brick measurements in the anterior prefrontal, frontotemporal and superior frontal regions. In accordance with prediction, repeated measure-ANOVAs showed that the creativity groups differed significantly in all three regions. The highly creative group had increases, or unchanged activity, while the low creative group had mainly decreases. The high creatives also had higher hemispheric means of CBF during rest compared to the low creative group. The highly creative group had higher trait anxiety than the low creative group. On the intelligence tests the low creative group was superior both on logical-inductive ability and on perceptual speed, while the groups were equal on verbal and spatial tests. Logical ability was negatively correlated with anxiety.
Furthermore, the highly creative group had higher defensive variation than the low group. High defensive variability was positively correlated to the creativity test.
The results are discussed in terms of flexible interaction between complementary functions in the two hemispheres.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Publication categoryResearch
EventThe 12th World Congress of Psychophysiology. The Olympics of the Brain - Thessaloniki, Greece
Duration: 2004 Sep 182004 Sep 23

Publication series

ISSN (Print)1872-7697
ISSN (Electronic)0167-8760


ConferenceThe 12th World Congress of Psychophysiology. The Olympics of the Brain