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The neural basis of scientific innovation problems finding
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Abstract  Creative thinking refers to the process which individual bases on the existing knowledge and experience and multi-angle thinking activities and produces a unique and value product, is the cornerstone of human civilization and social progress. As an important part of the creative field, scientific inventions is in particular the need for individuals to break the existing state and build new things in the creation of scientific inventions. Therefore, the use of real-life examples of scientific inventions to explore cognitive neural mechanism of creative thinking has become the focus. There have been many researches about the creative problem solving, especially including about studies of neural mechanisms. However, less attention has been paid on the issue of problem finding. Hence, the present study employed resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) and scientific invention problem finding materials to identify the neural substrates for the process of the scientific innovation problem finding. In the present study, 9 scientific innovation problem situations were selected from as materials. Each problem consisted of three parts: (paradoxical) problem situation, (misleading) old problem and heuristic prototype. The modified learning-testing paradigm was used to explore the brain mechanisms of problem finding. Participants were asked to find a new problem based on the given problem situation and old problem in the testing phase after learning all the heuristic prototypes in the learning phase. 104 undergraduates (mean age = 19.26±0.99) were enrolled in the final experiment. The rs-fMRI data was acquired using Echo Planar Imaging (EPI) sequence from a 3-T Siemens Magnetom Trio scanner (Siemens Medical, Erlangen, Germany) at MRI center of Southwest University. We used both the Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuation (ALFF) and resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) to measure the local properties of rs-fMRI signals, and then investigated the relationship between ALFF/RSFC and individual differences in scientific problem finding. After controlling for the age, gender, the results of multiple regression analysis showed that individuals with high rate of useful problem had higher spontaneous brain activity in left Medial Prefrontal Cortex (L-mPFC) and cerebellum. Functional connectivity analysis was further found that a significant positive correlation between the rate of useful problems and the mPFC-Cuneus functional connectivity. Based on these results above, we inferred that: (1) the mPFC was played an important role in the process of scientific innovation problem finding. It might be responsive to two aspects: one involved in breaking the thinking set and forming the novel association, another associated with the extraction and processing of working memory. (2) The cerebellum and the Cuneus might be separately involved in the allocating attention resources and divulging inter-semantic.
Keywords creativity      scientific innovation problem finding      mPFC      AlFF      RSFC     
Corresponding Authors: Qiu aJiang   
Issue Date: 28 June 2020
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LI Wen-Fu
YANG Wen-Jing
LU Feng
ZHANG Qiang-Lin
QIU Jiang
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ZHONG Dan-Dan,LI Wen-Fu,YANG Wen-Jing, et al. The neural basis of scientific innovation problems finding[J]. ,
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