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Brain structure links trait creativity to openness to experience

Li, W., Li, X., Huang, L., Kong, X., Yang, W., Wei, D., Li, J., Cheng, H., Zhang, Q., Qiu, J., & Liu, J. (2015). Brain structure links trait creativity to openness to experience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(2), 191-198. doi:10.1093/scan/nsu041.
Creativity is crucial to the progression of human civilization and has led to important scientific discoveries. Especially, individuals are more likely to have scientific discoveries if they possess certain personality traits of creativity (trait creativity), including imagination, curiosity, challenge and risk-taking. This study used voxel-based morphometry to identify the brain regions underlying individual differences in trait creativity, as measured by the Williams creativity aptitude test, in a large sample (n = 246). We found that creative individuals had higher gray matter volume in the right posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), which might be related to semantic processing during novelty seeking (e.g. novel association, conceptual integration and metaphor understanding). More importantly, although basic personality factors such as openness to experience, extroversion, conscientiousness and agreeableness (as measured by the NEO Personality Inventory) all contributed to trait creativity, only openness to experience mediated the association between the right pMTG volume and trait creativity. Taken together, our results suggest that the basic personality trait of openness might play an important role in shaping an individual’s trait creativity.
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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