Autonomy and control across cognition: Insights from creativity, memory, mind wandering, and reasoning research

Nathaniel Barr, Roger Beaty, Paul Seli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Increasing amounts of behavioral and neuroscientific evidence support a view in which creativity arises as a result of an interaction between associative and executive processes (Beaty, Benedek, Silvia, & Schacter, 2016; Beaty, Silvia, Nusbaum, Jauk, & Benedek, 2014). Although much progress has been made in this area, the precise nature of the interplay among different modes of thought in creative thinking requires further specification (see Sowden, Pringle, & Gabora, 2014). In this chapter, it is argued that advances in this area can be facilitated by connecting creativity research to other cognitive literatures that make similar delineations among types of thought, but whose evolution has progressed relatively independently. Theoreticians in the areas of mind wandering, memory, and reasoning have all independently argued for the utility of distinguishing processing and thinking that is unintentional, spontaneous, and autonomous from that which is intentional, deliberate, and controlled (Evans and Stanovich, 2013; Hintzman, 2011; Seli, Risko, Smilek, & Schacter, 2016). By connecting creativity research to these literatures, this chapter aids theoretical refinement and integration, makes suggestions for future empirical research, and helps to further ground the study of creation in cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCreativity and the Wandering Mind
Subtitle of host publicationSpontaneous and Controlled Cognition
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780128164006
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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