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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The present chapter explores the century long question of whether synaesthetes are more creative than non-synaesthetes. This question extends beyond the field of synaesthesia, for what we learn about any population that excels in creativity can be used as an enlightening window on the basis of creativity in all of us. The literature in this area originally focused on synaesthetic art, but a set of recent investigations has uncovered that the heightened creativity in synaesthetes lies more so in their thoughts; synaesthetes appear to be a population of great creative thinkers. Here we will explore how investigations have led us to this conclusion, and ask what exactly could be the source of this desirable enhanced ability in synaesthetes. There is growing evidence that one important feature of synaesthesia may be a propensity for neural co-activation of disparate regions of the brain, given enhanced structural or functional neural connectivity. This neural connectivity is a possible contender as the significant common denominator to synaesthesia and creativity. Thus it may not be the synaesthetic experience that leads to enhanced creative thinking, but, rather, that the mechanisms that underlie the synaesthetic experience may also underlie the synaesthete's creative cognition. This chapter promotes the use of synaesthetes as a special neuro-cognitive population to investigate not only with regard to their synaesthetic experiences, but also with regard to neuro-cognitive capabilities more broadly.

Keywords: Art, Cognitive creativity, Cognitive neuroscience, Creativity, Individual differences, Innovative thinking, Neural Connectivity, Personality Neuroscience, Synaesthesia, Synesthesia

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