Takeuchi et al. (2011) had participants in an fMRI perform three tasks in order to measure creativity, working memory and intelligence.
- S-A creativity test as a measure of creativity (Society For Creative Minds, 1969).
- Verbal n-back as a measure of working memory (Calicott et al., 1999).
- Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrix as a measure of intelligence (Raven, 1998).
They reported no association between creativity and WM performance after controlling for IQ.
To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate the association between individual creativity and functional activity during WM. Creativity and WM performances did not correlate in this study of young healthy and cognitively intact subjects. However, congruent with our hypothesis, our findings showed that reduced TID during the WM task in the precuneus (one of the key nodes of the DMN) is associated with creativity measured by the divergent thinking test.
There was no apparent evidence to suggest that performance on a WM task is associated with performance on a divergent thinking task, but the authors proposed a complex argument for the idea of creativity as "diffuse attention," which they argue may share a neural basis with WM (such that they are opponent processes). The evidence for this is indirect and seems difficult to reconcile with the concretely reported independence of WM and creativity performance, however.
- Callicott, J. H., Mattay, V. S., Bertolino, A., Finn, K., Coppola, R., Frank, J. A., ... & Weinberger, D. R. (1999). Physiological characteristics of capacity constraints in working memory as revealed by functional MRI. Cerebral Cortex, 9(1), 20-26.
- Raven, J. Court (1998). Manual for Raven’s progressive matrices and vocabulary scales. Oxford: Oxford Psychologists.
- Society For Creative Minds (1969). Manual of S-A Creativity Test.
Tokyo Schinri Corporation. Tokyo.
- Takeuchi, H., Taki, Y., Hashizume, H., Sassa, Y., Nagase, T., Nouchi, R., & Kawashima, R. (2011). Failing to deactivate: the association between brain activity during a working memory task and creativity. Neuroimage, 55(2), 681-687.