Brain Entropy is Associated with Divergent Thinking

Liang Shi, Roger E. Beaty, Qunlin Chen, Jiangzhou Sun, Dongtao Wei, Wenjing Yang, Jiang Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Creativity is the ability to generate original and useful products, and it is considered central to the progression of human civilization. As a noninherited emerging process, creativity may stem from temporally dynamic brain activity, which, however, has not been well studied. The purpose of this study was to measure brain dynamics using entropy and to examine the associations between brain entropy (BEN) and divergent thinking in a large healthy sample. The results showed that divergent thinking was consistently positively correlated with regional BEN in the left dorsal anterior cingulate cortex/pre-supplementary motor area and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, suggesting that creativity is closely related to the functional dynamics of the control networks involved in cognitive flexibility and inhibitory control. Importantly, our main results were cross-validated in two independent cohorts from two different cultures. Additionally, three dimensions of divergent thinking (fluency, flexibility, and originality) were positively correlated with regional BEN in the left inferior frontal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus, suggesting that more highly creative individuals possess more flexible semantic associative networks. Taken together, our findings provide the first evidence of the associations of regional BEN with individual variations in divergent thinking and show that BEN is sensitive to detecting variations in important cognitive abilities in healthy subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)708-717
Number of pages10
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 21 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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