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Differential modulation of performance in insight and divergent thinking tasks with tDCS

Eimontaite, Iveta; Goel, Vinod; Schindler, Igor; Goel, Amit


Iveta Eimontaite

Vinod Goel

Amit Goel


While both insight and divergent thinking tasks are used to study creativity, there are reasons to believe that the two may call upon very different mechanisms. To explore this hypothesis, we administered a verbal insight task (riddles) and a divergent thinking task (verbal fluency) to 16 native English speakers and 16 non-native English speakers after they underwent Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) of the left middle temporal gyrus and right temporo- parietal junction. We found that, in the case of the insight task the depolarization of right temporo-parietal junction and hyperpolarization of left middle temporal gyrus resulted in increased performance, relative to both the control condition and the reverse stimulation condition in both groups (non-native > native speakers). However, in the case of the divergent thinking task, the same pattern of stimulation resulted in a decrease in performance, compared to the reverse stimulation condition, in the non-native speakers. We explain this dissociation in terms of differing task demands of divergent thinking and insight tasks and speculate that the greater sensitivity of non-native speakers to tDCS stimulation may be a function of less entrenched neural networks for non-native languages.


Eimontaite, I., Goel, V., Schindler, I., & Goel, A. (2015). Differential modulation of performance in insight and divergent thinking tasks with tDCS. Journal of Problem Solving, 8(1), 23-35.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Apr 3, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 3, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 3, 2016
Journal Journal of problem solving
Print ISSN 1932-6246
Electronic ISSN 1932-6246
Publisher Purdue University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Pages 23-35
Keywords Enhancing creativity; tDCS; Insight; Fluency; Semantic spread; Mental set shift; Temporal lobes
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a copy of an open access article published in Journal of problem solving, 2015, v.8 issue 1.


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