White matter structures associated with creativity: Evidence from diffusion tensor imaging

Hikaru Takeuchi, Yasuyuki Taki, Yuko Sassa, Hiroshi Hashizume, Atsushi Sekiguchi, Ai Fukushima, Ryuta Kawashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


Creativity has been essential to the development of human civilization and plays a crucial role in cultural life. However, despite literature that has proposed the importance of structural connectivity in the brain for creativity, the relationship between regional white matter integrity and creativity has never been directly investigated. In this study, we used diffusion tensor imaging and a behavioral creativity test of divergent thinking to investigate the relationship between creativity and structural connectivity. We examined associations between creativity and fractional anisotropy across the brain in healthy young adult (mean age, 21.7 years old; [SD]=1.44) men (n=42) and women (n=13). After controlling for age, sex, and score on Raven's advanced progressive matrices, a test for psychometric measures of intelligence, significant positive relationships between fractional anisotropy and individual creativity as measured by the divergent thinking test were observed in the white matter in or adjacent to the bilateral prefrontal cortices, the body of the corpus callosum, the bilateral basal ganglia, the bilateral temporo-parietal junction and the right inferior parietal lobule. As a whole, these findings indicate that integrated white matter tracts underlie creativity. These pathways involve the association cortices and the corpus callosum, which connect information in distant brain regions and underlie diverse cognitive functions that support creativity. Thus, our results are congruent with the ideas that creativity is associated with the integration of conceptually distant ideas held in different brain domains and architectures and that creativity is supported by diverse high-level cognitive functions, particularly those of the frontal lobe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 May


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