Psychology ETDs


Sephira Ryman

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Creative cognition emerges from a complex network of interacting brain regions. This study investigated the relationship between the structural organization of the human brain and aspects of creative cognition quantified by divergent thinking tasks. Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) was used to obtain fiber tracts from 83 segmented cortical regions. This information was represented as a network and metrics of connectivity organization, including connectivity strength, clustering and efficiency were computed, and their relationship to personal levels of creativity was examined. Permutation testing identified significant sex differences in the relationship between global connectivity and creativity as measured by divergent thinking tests. Females demonstrated significant inverse relationships between global connectivity and creative cognition; there were no significant relationships observed in males. Node specific analyses found inverse relationships across measures of Connectivity, Efficiency, Clustering and creative cognition in widespread regions in females. Our findings suggest that females involve more regions of the brain in processing to produce novel ideas to solutions, perhaps at the expense of efficiency (greater path lengths). Males, in contrast, exhibited few, relatively weak positive relationships across these measures. Extending recent observations of sex differences in connectome structure, our findings of sexually dimorphic relationships suggest a unique topological organization of connectivity underlying the generation of novel ideas in males and females.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Witkiewitz, Katie

Second Committee Member

Jung, Rex




creativity white matter sex differences

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