Author(s): Flaherty AW
This paper presents a three-factor anatomical model of human idea generation and creative drive, focusing on interactions between the temporal lobes, frontal lobes, and limbic system. Evidence is drawn from functional imaging, drug studies, and lesion analysis. Temporal lobe changes, as in hypergraphia, often increase idea generation, sometimes at the expense of quality. Frontal lobe deficits may decrease idea generation, in part because of rigid judgments about an idea's worth. These phenomena are clearest in verbal creativity, and roughly parallel the pressured communication of temporal lobe epilepsy, mania, and Wernicke's aphasia--compared to the sparse speech and cognitive inflexibility of depression, Broca's aphasia, and other frontal lobe lesions. The phenomena also shape non-linguistic creativity, as in that of frontotemporal dementia. The appropriate balance between frontal and temporal activity is mediated by mutually inhibitory corticocortical interactions.