How does imagination work?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Can you picture a world without creativity? I can’t! None of my favorite books would exist if their authors hadn’t envisioned such epic stories, and that’s not the world for me. I know I’d never invent the wild tales they create, and I want to know: where does imagination come from?

Based on evidence from a Dartmouth study, it comes from a special area in our brains called a “mental workspace” (the word “work” is a bit misleading if you ask me). This neural network takes images, sounds, thoughts, ideas, and constantly manipulates them for endless amounts of creativity! “Our findings move us closer to understanding how the organization of our brains sets us apart from other species and provides such a rich internal playground for us to think freely and creatively,” says lead author Alex Schlegel, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “Understanding these differences will give us insight into where human creativity comes from and possibly allow us to recreate those same creative processes in machines.”

Aw man, I have enough trouble as it is staying as creative as possible, I can’t believe I’ll have to compete with robots in the future!

Featured image courtesy of Mehdinom on Wikimedia.