Please wait a minute...
Advances in Psychological Science    2015, Vol. 23 Issue (2) : 213-224     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00213
Regular Articles |
Neural Basis of Creative Thinking during Four Stages
ZHAN Huijia1; LIU Chang1; SHEN Wangbing1,2
(1 Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Department of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China) (2 Institute of Applied Psychology, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China)
Download: PDF(321 KB)  
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

Wallas put forward an important creative process model and defined four stages of creativity as follows: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification. The investigations of brain state before the presentation of a creative problem show that the neural activity of the preparation stage is associate with medial PFC/ACC and temporal areas. The neuroscientific researches on presentation of a hint during incubation, delayed insight and mind-wandering reflect the neural correlates of incubation, and the main active brain regions during this stage include hippocampus and ventrolateral PFC. The last two stages are associated with a neural network consisting of several brain regions including PFC, ACC, superior temporal gyrus, hippocampus, precunes, cunes, lingual gyrus and cerebellum et al. The PFC and ACC are involved in different kinds of insight problem solving; the superior temporal gyrus is responsible for the formation of remote associations; the hippocampus is associated with the process of mental set breaking and formation of novel associations; the lateral prefrontal cortex is responsible for mental set shifting; the precunes, left middle/inferior frontal gyrus and lingual gyrus participate in the process of prototype activation. In addition, the verification of the details of solution is found to rely on the left lateral prefrontal cortex. Future studies can be improved in the aspects of research subjects, contents and methods, so that the process of creative thinking can be investigated systematically.

Keywords creative thinking      four stages      neural correlates      incubation      insight     
Corresponding Authors: LIU Chang, E-mail:   
Issue Date: 14 February 2015
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
ZHAN Huijia
LIU Chang
SHEN Wangbing
Cite this article:   
ZHAN Huijia,LIU Chang,SHEN Wangbing. Neural Basis of Creative Thinking during Four Stages[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(2): 213-224.
URL:     OR
[1] YUAN Yuan; SHEN Wangbing; SHI Chunhua; LIU Chang; LIU Quzhi; LIU Chang. The psychological and neural mechanisms of insight experience[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2016, 24(9): 1329-1338.
[2] SHEN Wangbing; YUAN Yuan. Sociocultural Basis underlying Creative Thinking[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(7): 1169-1180.
[3] HU Weiping; WANG Botao; DUAN Haijun; CHENG Lifang; ZHOU Huan; LI Jingjing. Neural Mechanism of Creative Cognitive Process Influenced by Emotion[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(11): 1869-1878.
[4] FU Mei;WANG Qiang. The Neural Basis of Intertemporal Choice: Evidences from Voxel-Based Morphometry and Diffusion Tensor Imaging[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2014, 22(4): 659-667.
[5] LUO Jun-Long;QIN Yi-Gui;LI Wen-Fu;Zhu Hai-Xue;TIAN Yan;QIU Jiang;ZHANG Qing-Lin. The Brain Mechanism of Insight Induced by Heuristic Prototype in Invention[J]. , 2012, 20(4): 504-513.
[6] NIE Qi-Yang;LUO Jing. “Aha!” and “Haha!”: The Common and Distinct Cognitive Brain Processes Underlying Insight and Humor[J]. , 2012, 20(2): 219-227.
[7] QIU Jiang;ZHANG Qing-Lin. Neural Correlates of Prototype Activation in Insight During Creative Thinking[J]. , 2011, 19(3): 312-317.
[8] HU Shu-Jing;JIANG Guang-Rong. Definition of “Insight” in Psychotherapy[J]. , 2010, 18(09): 1489-1495.
[9] WANG Nai-Yi; LUO Yue-Jia; DONG Qi. Neural Correlates of Aesthetics[J]. , 2010, 18(01): 19-27.
[10] LIU Chun-Lei;WANG Min;ZHANG Qing-Lin. Neural Mechanism of Creative Thinking[J]. , 2009, 17(01): 106-111.
[11] LI Xiao-Jian;LIU Dong-Tai. Neural Mechanisms for the Occurrence of Visual Illusions[J]. , 2008, 16(04): 555-561.
[12] Luo Jing;Zhang Xiuling. From the Impasse to the Breakthrough: The Brain Basis for Insightful Problem Solving[J]. , 2006, 14(04): 484-489.
[13] Wang Ye;Yu Rongjun;Zhou Xiaolin. A Suitable Tool for Creativity Research: Remote Associates Test[J]. , 2005, 13(06): 734-738.
Full text



Copyright © Advances in Psychological Science
Support by Beijing Magtech