Inhibition and creativity
The prefrontal cortex can be considered one of the most intriguing parts of the adolescent brain. It has the most protracted developmental trajectory and plays a key role in forming connections to other parts of the brain. We know this region is important for cognitive control, especially in the context of specific assignments. In our research, we were specifically interested in how prefrontal cortex is used in children and adolescents when they are asked to employ internally driven actions.
One of these projects concerns the ability to intentionally stop our actions, also referred to as intentional inhibition. This type of inhibition is largely understudied but of crucial importance when we aim to understand decision-making in the heat of the moment, or when having to make decisions based on internal motives.
We are also interested in how children, adolescents and adults develop creativity, that is, the ability to make connections that are novel and applicable. We learned that adolescents use larger regions of the prefrontal cortex when thinking of spatial creative solutions, which benefits their performance.
These projects were supported by two grants from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) in collaboration with the European Science Foundation (ESF), awarded to Eveline Crone.
Our collaborators: Margot Schel, Sietske Kleibeuker, Patrick Haggard (UCL), Marcel Brass (Gent University).
Our research explained: