Creative Cognition: Memory Systems, Cognitive Control, and Brain Dynamics

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Streaming Media

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neuroscience, memory, creative thinking, episodic memory, semantic memory, creative cognition, brain networks


Creative thinking involves making new connections between concepts stored in memory. But memory retrieval alone does not always lead to the most original ideas — we often need to shift our thinking away from common knowledge to produce something new. How does memory support and constrain our ability to think creatively? In this talk, Beaty explores some benefits and costs of episodic and semantic memory to creative cognition. Beaty also discusses how our capacity for cognitive control may play a key role in overcoming constraining effects of prior knowledge. He presents evidence from a series of functional brain imaging experiments examining neurocognitive mechanisms of memory retrieval and cognitive control during creative task performance. Together, these studies show that creative thinking involves a dynamic interplay between the default and executive brain networks — neural systems commonly engaged during memory retrieval and cognitive control processes. Beaty concludes with some future directions to further our understanding of how and when memory supports creative thinking in the arts and everyday life.


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