Intrinsic default—executive coupling of the creative aging brain

Areeba Adnan, Roger Beaty, Jaeger Lam, R. Nathan Spreng, Gary R. Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Creativity refers to the ability to generate novel associations and has been linked to better problem-solving and real-world functional abilities. In younger adults, creative cognition has been associated with functional connectivity among brain networks implicated in executive control [fronto-parietal network (FPN) and salience network (SN)] and associative or elaborative processing default network (DN). Here, we investigate whether creativity is associated with the intrinsic network architecture of the brain and how these associations may differ for younger and older adults. Young (mean age: 24.76, n = 22) and older (mean age: 70.03, n = 44) adults underwent multi-echo functional magnetic resonance image scanning at rest and completed a divergent-thinking task to assess creative cognition outside the scanner. Divergent thinking in older adults, compared to young adults, was associated with functional connectivity between the default and both executive control networks (FPN and SN) as well as more widespread default–executive coupling. Finally, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex appears to be a critical node involved in within- and between-network connectivity associated with creative cognition in older adulthood. Patterns of intrinsic network coupling revealed here suggest a putative neural mechanism underlying a greater role for mnemonic processes in creative cognition in older adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-303
Number of pages13
JournalSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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