Have you ever wondered how human beings have the ability to create unique art, write fairytales, or come up ideas for new technology? A new study conducted by researchers from Dartmouth might shed some light on where human imagination comes from, e Science News reports. According to the article, the researchers have found proof of a “widespread neural network,” something that philosophers and scientists have up until now only theoretically referred to as the brain’s “mental workspace.”
The study was simple. Researchers asked 15 people to imagine certain visual shapes and then to combine them with other shapes or break them apart into smaller pieces. While monitoring the participants’ brains activity with MRIs, the researchers believe they have discovered where imagination comes from. According to the article, they found a “cortical and subcortical network,” that covered most of the brain.
The discovery by Dartmouth researchers might not only answer where imagination comes from, but how the human brain is different from other species. Lead author of the study Alex Schegel told e Science News that coming to know these differences might eventually lead to building machines that have the same creative processes.
The Dartmouth study was published in the Sep 16. Issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.