The inventive brain.
Creativity may get a boost from a surprising part of the brain. The cerebellum, usually associated with body movements, lit up in brain scans when people played Pictionary, Laura Sanders reported in "Cerebellum may foster creativity" (SN: 6/27/15, p. 11).
Skeptical about the findings, some readers offered other explanations for what might be going on in the brain. "The cerebellum is being activated in drawing because its role in motor control is to make error corrections," argued Charles Muncal on Facebook. "The more you draw, the more precise your motor control becomes. This is what is occurring when the cerebellum is lighting up." In an e-mail, John Lord asked, "Isn't drawing a muscular activity? Doesn't that always activate the cerebellum, creative or not?"
Drawing relies on movements, and the cerebellum does become active when the body moves, Sanders says. In the study, the researchers attempted to compensate for this by having the participants draw a zigzag, which required motion but not creativity. The researchers found that the cerebellum's activity increased with creativity, even though people were drawing and moving all the while. But it is possible that the findings could be explained by differences in the drawing motions, particularly those movements needed to draw scenes more elaborate than a zigzag.