Friday, 1 May 2015

I is for Imagination - what is it and where does it come from

"The ability to form new images and sensations
in the mind that are not perceived through 
senses such as sight, hearing, or other senses."
This is what imagination is according to Wikipedia.

And it is a good definition. 
This intangible concept helps the 
creative to hone their craft. 
But where does it come from?

Alex Schlegel, graduate student from Dartmouth College
that the concept of imagination comes from the 
"brain's 'mental workspace',
a widespread neural network that coordinates activity 
across several regions in the brain
and consciously manipulates symbols,
images and theories."

To prove where imagination is occurring in the brain, 
Schlegel asked participants in the study to imagine a bee's body
with a bull's head. 

Google for all it's good cannot provide me with this image, 
see here. But as I type this, my mind is already forming that image. 

The participants, whilst imagining this and other creative thoughts
had their mind read by a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging instrument (fMRI). 
The fMRI looks at the metabolic functioning of the brain 
whereas an MRI instrument just looks at the anatomical structure. 

 The results being that the visual cortex is 'actively involved' 
as are other areas of the brain. 

Credit: Alex Schlegel

From my limited brain anatomy knowledge, the other areas that are involved
include occipital lobe, cerebrum, posterior parietal cortex,
 thalamus, medial temporal lobe,
frontal eye fields, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,
supplementary eye field and magnetic field correlation.
(Sadly I don't know or can find PCU, PITC and FO - help me out). 
So may be imagination is greater 

you could always add your own...

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