Neural Oscillatory Signature of Original Problem Solving

  • Henk J. Haarmann
  • Polly O’Rourke
  • Timothy George
  • Alexei Smaliy
  • Kristin Grunewald
  • Joseph Dien
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8027)


The goal of the present research was to increase understanding of the neural oscillatory signature of originality in verbal divergent thinking by determining if event-related synchronization (ERS) in frequency bands other than alpha predicts originality. EEG was recorded while participants performed the insight task in which they were presented with a brief scenario and asked to generate as many explanations as possible during a three minute period. After the EEG session, participants were asked to rate the originality of each idea they produced. Analyses revealed that high originality was associated with decreases in the high beta ERS and with hemispheric asymmetry in the low beta band, immediately prior to idea generation. These results suggest the neural signature of originality extends beyond hemispheric asymmetries in the alpha band and provide important insights into the neural underpinnings of verbal creativity.


Divergent thinking originality EEG ERS alpha beta 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk J. Haarmann
    • 1
  • Polly O’Rourke
    • 1
  • Timothy George
    • 1
  • Alexei Smaliy
    • 2
  • Kristin Grunewald
    • 1
  • Joseph Dien
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for the Advance Study of LanguageUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  2. 2.Maryland Neuroimaging CenterUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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