Researcher looking at fMRI images. Credit: US Department of Health and Human Services: National Institute of Mental Health”.

A new study sheds light on human imagination. Where the brains workspace for manipulation of images and mental constructs seems to be located.

Using MRI to measure brain activity, the researchers observed 15 participants while they imagined abstract visual shapes and combines or dismantle these.

They found a network in 11 parts of the brain that handles imagery manipulations. The results contradict the previous belief that the brain’s visual cortex was solely responsible. This study instead indicates that it is a more complex collaboration if different brain regions involved.

Lead author Alex Schlegel is a researcher at the Dartmouth College Department of Psychological and Bran Sciences. He said in a statement; “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,”

Eleven areas of the brain that is activated when imagining. Credit Alex Schlegel

“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.”,

“We saw differences in activity all over the brain when we compared to control conditions,”  “It does seem rather than being a single area responsible for imagining or manipulating, it seems like lots of areas have to work in concert.”, he adds.

This study is the first to map the part of the brain responsible for images and imagination.

Network structure and dynamics of the mental workspace