Creativity and intelligence: what is the relationship between them?

Creativity is always an intriguing point between the incredible capabilities that the human brain has and the ability to correlate different facts to create innovative ideas has already been the subject of several studies that sought to better understand the functioning of this competence.

The study of creativity

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In an article written by me and published by the Fédération Internationale d’Education Physique (FIEP), entitled Creativity needs to be worked on constantly, with training and challenges to develop your skillsthis phenomenon is analyzed more deeply.

In it, I analyzed the brain functioning that leads to creative abilities. They occur due to the function, mainly, of two areas of the brain, the frontal cortex — responsible for short-term memory, cognitive flexibility, planning and various functions that contribute to the creative process — and the hippocampus — known for storing and retrieving memories, as well as relating experiences to formulate new ideas.

In a very interesting study carried out in 2018, which analyzed the brain activity of patients during the creation and recall of original ideas, an activation of parahippocampal regions – regions close to the hippocampus – and the bilateral prefrontal cortex was observed, showing that Idea generation occurs through remembering original ideas and reinforcing the action of the frontal cortex and hippocampus in creativity.

Can creativity be stimulated?

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Creative thinking is based on the human being’s imaginative capacity and the ability to visualize possibilities that have not yet happened. The same brain region linked to imagining the future is also linked to remembering the past—the relationship between the two counterpoints favors imaginative capacity and, therefore, creativity.

This process can be improved through a few simple habits such as:

  • Physical exercises: some important neurotransmitters are released with physical exercise and help in creative development;
  • Curiosity: stimulate the quest to discover unexplored fields, curiosity and creativity go hand in hand;
  • Challenges: when the brain is moved by challenging activities to perform complex tasks, creativity is stimulated to carry out the meta-proposal.
  • brain exercise: Games that challenge and exercise the brain and encourage it to strategize are great for strengthening creativity.
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Creativity and intelligence: is there a relationship?

Some studies point out that people who have a high IQ have the most developed brain regions responsible for creativity, however, these are not skills that always go together — the size of creativity has nothing to do with the size of IQ.

Personality is another important factor in the creative process, it acts as a facilitator allied to the level of knowledge that, together with experiences, interfere with creativity, but do not fully determine it.


Fabiano de Abreu Agrela Rodrigues, columnist for Mega Curioso, has a PhD in Neuroscience; Master in Psychology; Postgraduate in neuropsychology, among other postgraduate degrees; degree in Biology and History, technologist in anthropology, journalist, specialized in Python programming, Artificial Intelligence and has professional training in Clinical Nutrition. He is currently director of the Heráclito Research and Analysis Center; active member of Redilat; Head of the Department of Science and Technology at Logos University International, scientist at Hospital Martin Dockweiler, professor and research scientist at Universidad Santander