Creative thinking and cognitive estimation in Parkinson’s disease

Marcus Heldmann, Celia Rinckens, Norbert Brüggemann, Mohamed Al-Khaled, Thomas F. Münte*

*Corresponding author for this work


Background: Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) have been reported to exhibit unusual bouts of creativity (e.g., painting, writing), in particular in the context of treatment with dopaminergic agents. Here we investigated divergent and convergent thinking thought to underlie creativity. In addition we assessed cognitive estimation. 

Method: Twenty PD patients and 20 matched healthy control participants were subjected to the Guilford Alternate Uses task (divergent thinking), the remote associates task (convergent thinking) and two tests of cognitive estimation. Results: No group differences were found for the convergent thinking task, while the Guilford Alternate Uses task revealed a decreased number of correct responses and a reduced originality for PD patients. Originality in PD was correlated to total daily dose of dopaminergic medication. Moreover, both tasks of cognitive estimation showed an impairment in PD. 

Conclusion: Only minor effects were found for psychometric indices of subprocesses of creative thinking, while estimation, relying on executive functioning, is impaired in PD. We suggest to take a product oriented view of creativity in further research on altered creative processes in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalNeurological research and practice
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)9
Publication statusPublished - 15.02.2024

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 206-08 Cognitive and Systemic Human Neuroscience
  • 110-02 Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neurosciences
  • 110-05 Differential, Clinical and Medical Psychology, Methodology

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