The originality of creativity measured by divergent thinking (CMDT) is a unique variable that is positively correlated with psychometric intelligence and other psychological measures. Here, we aimed to determine the associations of CMDT originality/fluency scores and brain activity associated with working memory (WM) and simple cognitive processes during the N-back paradigm in a cohort of 1221 young adults. We observed that originality/fluency scores were associated with greater brain activity during the 0-back simple cognitive task and 2-back WM task in key nodes of the ventral attention system in the right hemisphere. Further, subjects with higher originality/fluency scores showed lower task-induced deactivations in areas of the default mode network, especially during the 2-back task. Psychological analyses revealed the associations of originality/fluency scores with both psychometric intelligence and systemizing. We also observed the effects of interaction between sex and originality/fluency scores on functional activity during the 0-back task in posterior parts of the default mode network together with other areas as well as simple processing speed. These results indicate that the originality of CMDT is associated with (a) greater activation of the ventral attention system, which is involved in reorienting attention and (b) reduced task-induced deactivation of the default mode network, which is indicative of alterations in attentional reallocation, and (c) cognitive correlates of originality of CMDT and revealed sex differences in these associations.
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