Connect to share and comment
"Our findings move us closer to understanding how the organization of our brains sets us apart from other species and provides such a rich internal playground for us to think freely and creatively."
The question of where the human imagination stems from has long baffled thinkers, philosophers and scientists.
But a new study purports to show exactly where it comes from in the human brain.
Previous theories said that the imagination was created in many parts of the brain all intertwined together.
The researchers told 15 participants to imagine specific abstract shapes and combine them with other figures.
They were also asked to take those shapes apart.
Using an fMRI, scientists scanned the brain while participants used their imaginations to perform the tasks.
More from GlobalPost: 'Mini human brains' grown from stem cells, scientists say
They found that the cortical and subcortical brain regions were mostly responsible for imaginations and make up what is said to be our "mental workspace."
"Our findings move us closer to understanding how the organization of our brains sets us apart from other species and provides such a rich internal playground for us to think freely and creatively,” said lead author Alex Schlegel of Dartmouth University, in a statement.
“Understanding these differences will give us insight into where human creativity comes from and possibly allow us to recreate those same creative processes in machines.”
The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.