The default network

Roger E. Beaty, James Lloyd-Cox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The neuroscience of creativity has begun to shed light on the complex interplay of brain regions and networks supporting creative thought. One network that appears to play a central role in many creative domains is the so-called default network. The default network is an interconnected set of cortical midline and posterior inferior parietal regions that supports many aspects of human cognition, from mind-wandering to memory retrieval to future simulation. After briefly describing the serendipitous discovery of the default network, we address its potential contributions to creative cognition, with a focus on episodic memory and simulation. We also highlight some benefits and costs of memory retrieval for creative thought, noting that although memory provides a database of concepts that can be combined to solve creative problems, it can also constrain the search for novelty by bringing to mind what is already known. These memory-based processes can be guided and directed through the default network’s interaction with other brain networks associated with cognitive control. The dynamic interplay between default and control networks may reflect a neural mechanism underlying diverse creative pursuits, from the performing arts to everyday problem solving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Curated Reference Collection in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology
PublisherElsevier Science Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)9780128093245
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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