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Cerebellum may be site of creative spark

Playing Pictionary linked to boosted activity in workhorse region of the brain

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7:13am, May 28, 2015
pictionary drawings

DESTINATION IMAGINATION  As participants came up with creative ways to draw verbs, brain activity in the cerebellum increased. 

Creative sparks may fly from the brain’s cerebellum. Activity in that part of the brain, once thought to be a plodding, steady workhorse, increased as people inside an fMRI scanner created Pictionary drawings, scientists report May 28 in Scientific Reports.

While other scientists caution that the brain scan results lack the precision to say that cerebellum activity tracks with creativity, the study hints that the region plays some role.

“These are intriguing results, and it will be interesting to see how this relationship of cerebellum and artistic and intellectual creativity plays out in future studies,” says neurologist Jeremy Schmahmann of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who was not involved in the study. He says his clinical observations support the results: Two of Schmahmann’s patients were artists who had their creativity sapped by strokes that damaged the cerebellum.

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