The roles of the temporal lobe in creative insight: an integrated review

Thinking and Reasoning 23 (4):321-375 (2017)
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Abstract

Recent studies have revealed that the temporal lobe, a cortical region thought to be in charge of episodic and semantic memory, is involved in creative insight. This work examines the contributions of discrete temporal regions to insight. Activity in the medial temporal regions is indicative of novelty recognition and detection, which is necessary for the formation of novel associations and the “Aha!” experience. The fusiform gyrus mainly affects the formation of gestalt-like representation and perspective taking. The anterior and posterior middle temporal gyri are individually associated with extensive semantic processing and inhibiting salient or routine word associations, which are necessary to form non-salient, novel and remote associations. The anterior and posterior superior temporal gyri are individually responsible for integrating/binding and accessing various types of available conceptual representations. Based on the current knowledge, an integrated model of the temporal lobe's role in insight and some future directions are proposed.

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