Creative expertise is associated with transcending the here and now

Meghan L. Meyer*, Hal E. Hershfield, Adam Waytz, Judith N. Mildner, Diana I. Tamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Human imagination is bounded. As situations become more distant in time, place, perspective, and likelihood, they also become more difficult to simulate. What underlies the ability to successfully engage in distal simulations? Here we examine the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying distal simulation by studying individuals known for transcending these limits: creative experts. First, 2 behavioral studies establish that creative experts indeed succeed at engaging in vivid distal simulations, compared to less creative individuals. Performance on a traditional measure of creativity (Study 1) and real-world success in creative pursuits (Study 2) corresponded with more vivid distal simulations across temporal, spatial, social, and hypothetical domains. Study 3 used neuroimaging to identify the neural mechanism supporting creative experts' simulation success. Whereas creative experts and controls recruit the same neural mechanism (the medial prefrontal cortex) while simulating common or proximal events, creative experts preferentially engage a distinct neural mechanism (the dorsomedial subsystem of the default network) while simulating distal events. Moreover, creative experts showed greater functional connectivity within this network at rest, suggesting they may be prepared to engage this mechanism, by default. Studying creative expertise provides new insight into the ability to mentally transcend the here and now.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-494
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume116
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Fingerprint

Aptitude
expertise
expert
Imagination
Creativity
Prefrontal Cortex
simulation
Neuroimaging
Psychology
event
ability
subsystem
creativity
Transcend
performance

Keywords

  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Psychological distance
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Meyer, Meghan L. ; Hershfield, Hal E. ; Waytz, Adam ; Mildner, Judith N. ; Tamir, Diana I. / Creative expertise is associated with transcending the here and now. In: Journal of personality and social psychology. 2019 ; Vol. 116, No. 4. pp. 483-494.
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Creative expertise is associated with transcending the here and now. / Meyer, Meghan L.; Hershfield, Hal E.; Waytz, Adam; Mildner, Judith N.; Tamir, Diana I.

In: Journal of personality and social psychology, Vol. 116, No. 4, 01.04.2019, p. 483-494.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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