Up until now scholars could only theorize just how and where imagination occurred in the human brain. However, a new study conducted by Dartmouth researchers discovers just that: the how and the where, e Science News reports. According to the article, researchers found that human imagination occurs in the brain’s “mental workspace,” the place that consciously alters images and ideas and provides people with the focus required to solve complex problems.
The findings of the study might help scientists create machines that can think more creatively like humans. Lead author and graduate student Alex Schlegal told the paper that the results provide insight into how the structure of our brain provides the place for people to “think freely and creatively.” He adds that the information they find will help them “recreate those same creative processes in machines.”
Before this study, evidence of this workspace was hard to find while studying brain activity in isolation, according to e Science News. However, Dartmouth researchers came upon their findings by seeking to find how the brain alters mental imagery. Using MRIs to monitor brain activity, researchers found that participants had a cortical and subcortical network over the majority of the brain. This network was controlling the image manipulations.