Do you remember your wild imaginations when you were young? A stick becomes snake, goat becomes lion and the list goes on and on. Scientists have claimed to have found the source of human imagination.
They say, the ability to use imagination doesn’t disappear after childhood, though it persists when people create art, invent tools and think scientifically.
Earlier researchers have theorized that the human imagination requires a widespread neural network in the brain. Evidence for such a “metal workspace,” though, has been difficult to produce with techniques. In order to overcome that issue and have a detailed study, the researchers decided to focus on how the brain allows us to manipulate mental imagery.
The researchers asked 15 participants to imagine specific abstract visual shapes and to mentally combine them into more complex figures or to mentally dismantle them into their separate parts. The scientists then measured the participants’ brain activity with functional MRI.
The researchers found that a cortical and subcortical network over a large part of the brain was responsible for the imagery manipulations.
“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,” said Alex Schlegel, the lead author of the paper, in a news release. “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.”
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.