Front cover image for Towards a neurobiology of creativity in nonhuman animals


Towards a neurobiology of creativity in nonhuman animals

We propose a cognitive and neurobiological framework for creativity in nonhuman animals based on the framework previously proposed by Kaufman and Kaufman (2004), with additional insight from recent animal behavior research, behavioral neuroscience, and creativity theories. The additional information has lead to three major changes in the 2004 model-the addition of novelty seeking as a subcategory of novelty recognition, the addition of specific neurological processing sites that correspond to each of the processes, and the transformation of the model into a spectrum in which all three levels represent different degrees of the creative process (emphasis on process) and the top level, dubbed innovation, is defined by the creative product. The framework remains a three-level model of creativity. The first level is composed of both the cognitive ability to recognize novelty, a process linked to hippocampal function, and the seeking out of novelty, which is linked to dopamine systems. The next level is observational learning, which can range in complexity from imitation to the cultural transmission of creative behavior. Observational learning may critically depend on the cerebellum, in addition to cortical regions. At the peak of the model is innovative behavior, which can include creating a tool or exhibiting a behavior with the specific understanding that it is new and different. Innovative behavior may be especially dependent upon the prefrontal cortex and/or the balance between left and right hemisphere functions
Article, 2011