Creativity, Self-Generated Thought, and the Brain's Default Network

Roger E. Beaty, Daniel L. Schacter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we explore emerging research from psychology and neuroscience on the contributions of self-generated thought and the brain's default network in creative cognition. Self-generated thought encompasses a wide range of human cognition, from mind-wandering to memory retrieval. In general, self-generated thought is characterized by internally focused mental activity that occurs when the mind is not engaged with the external world. Neuroimaging research has identified the brain's default network as the primary source of self-generated cognition. Increasing evidence suggests that the default network plays a critical role in creative thought, with several neuroimaging studies reporting activation of default regions during both domain-general creative problem solving (e.g., divergent thinking) and domain-specific artistic performance (e.g., musical improvisation). In the chapter, we describe the various cognitive functions associated with the default network, with a focus on understanding how this network may contribute to the production of creative ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Creative Self
Subtitle of host publicationEffect of Beliefs, Self-Efficacy, Mindset, and Identity
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128097908
ISBN (Print)9780128099056
StatePublished - Feb 23 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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